Ozzy Osbourne sues AEG over 'blatant, uncompetitive conduct'

Ozzy Osbourne sues AEG over 'blatant, uncompetitive conduct'

Ozzy Osbourne has filed an antitrust lawsuit against AEG over its requirement that artists must play the Staples Center in Los Angeles if they also wish to perform at London’s The O2.

In the suit, Osbourne accuses AEG, which operates both venues of “blatant, uncompetitive conduct” over what the demands, which the company is calling the "Staples Center Commitment”.

“In early 2018, Ozzy’s UK promoter, Live Nation UK, sought to book The O2 for Ozzy’s final world tour, known as No More Tours 2,” states the lawsuit, filed yesterday with the US district court. “Live Nation UK requested a date in February 2019, which AEG said was available - but only on the condition that Ozzy be bound by the Staples Center Commitment.

“Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife and business manager, publicly complained about having to sign the Staples Center Commitment, but AEG would not relent.

“In view of the blatant anticompetitive effects of AEG’s demands… Ozzy commences this action [on his own behalf and for all similarly situated artists] to prohibit AEG from enforcing the Staples Center Commitment, an unlawful tying arrangement that unfairly leverages AEG’s dominance in greater London to distort and deter competition in greater Los Angeles. The harm to competition from the Staples Center Commitment is profound, immediate, and irreparable -and must be enjoined.“

AEG took the course of action after rival Azoff MSG Entertainment reportedly started refusing to book acts into its prestigious Madison Square Garden venue in New York unless they also played the company’s Los Angeles venue, The Forum, over the Staples Center.

“This suit is without merit and we will vigorously fight it,” said AEG chairman/CEO Jay Marciano, in a statement. “We welcome a closer look at the global live entertainment market and, specifically, our practices and the practices of our competition. 

“AEG has always worked hard to put artists first. At the same time, we must respond to the actions of those we compete with, specifically Live Nation and Madison Square Garden. Fighting a level playing field is fair competition at its core.”

Earlier this week, Madison Square Garden Company previewed its groundbreaking MSG Sphere London venue, set to open in Stratford around 2020, which is expected to rival The O2 for major acts. 

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