2018 has been a pretty bad year for secondary-ticketing firm Viagogo – on a public-relations and legal level, at least, since insight into the company’s financial performance is limited.
In the UK, Viagogo has been heavily criticised by politicians; has been rapped by advertising watchdog ASA and taken to court by competition watchdog CMA; and saw tickets bought on its platform for Ed Sheeran’s concerts cancelled, with fans told to seek a refund from Viagogo while being allowed to buy face-value official tickets on the door to still get in.
Now Viagogo is facing a new headache in Germany, where a Hamburg court has ruled in favour of promoter MCT Agentur in a battle over secondary tickets for rock band Rammstein’s upcoming tour. The court has barred Viagogo from allowing tickets for the band’s German gigs to be sold on its platform, while also ruling that any tickets that are sold on it will not be valid for entry to the concerts.
Here, as with Sheeran, the message from the artist is that this is a move to protect fans. “The court’s decision is a warning signal to anyone who thinks they can resell massively overpriced and invalid Rammstein tickets,” said a statement published in IQ. While tickets can be resold, it will be through the official fanSALE service offered by ticketing firms Eventim and München Ticket.
The Sheeran case sparked a lawsuit from Viagogo: it sued Ed’s promoter Kilimanjaro Live – a lawsuit that the company said made it unable to give evidence at a UK parliamentary committee hearing on secondary ticketing scheduled for the same day (which in turn enraged the politicians even more). Watch closely to see what happens when Rammstein’s German gigs come round: the tactic of rendering Viagogo-purchased tickets invalid seems to be spreading.