Emboldening Ticketmaster’s Monopoly Hurts Latino Small Businesses

By Roberto C. Arnold, Chairman & Founder, Multicultural Business Alliance 

As an advocate for small businesses, I know how challenging it is to succeed in today’s economy. It’s even more challenging when entrepreneurs have to face competition that engages in unfair business practices. This is especially the case with Live Nation/Ticketmaster, a monopoly that dominates the live event ticketing industry. 

That’s why I must voice my opposition to Senate Bill 785, legislation currently being considered at the State Capitol. SB 785 proposes to grow the Ticketmaster monopoly and make it even harder for Latino-owned small businesses to compete fairly in the marketplace. 

Here’s the problem: The 2010 merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation created a behemoth that controls everything in the live event marketplace. This monopoly has limited options for artists – some Latino – who fear their shows won’t get promoted unless they use Ticketmaster. It has negatively impacted owners of small music or sports venues who worry they won’t be able to book events without relying on Ticketmaster.

The consequences of the Ticketmaster monopoly hurt consumers, too. Since 2010, working families wanting to see their favorite athletes and musicians perform have faced a staggering140% increase in ticket prices – and that’s adjusted for inflation. 

This trend will only get worse if SB 785 passes. The bill grants unprecedented government-backed powers to Ticketmaster to impose any terms or restrictions they wish on ticket sales. This monopoly, which already controls 80% of primary ticket sales in the U.S., will gain even more control, further harming consumers and small businesses.

This bill does nothing to lower fees or give consumers more autonomy. It does nothing to increase transparency around ticket availability and allows Ticketmaster to continue using tactics to justify dynamic pricing and gouge fans. It does nothing to protect consumers from the monopoly’s predatory behavior.

For working people and economically distressed communities, this bill represents a direct attack on their ability to participate in and enjoy live events. Without competition, Ticketmaster has no incentive to improve the ticket buying experience or lower fees. Fans will continue to face bottlenecks, hours-long queues and sites that crash – all while paying record prices. This burden disproportionately affects those with limited financial means, making it harder for them to access cultural and recreational activities that are often vital for community building and personal well-being.

If this effort isn’t problematic enough, it stands in stark contrast to the bold stances other government bodies are taking to protect consumers and ensure a fair and competitive market. California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster for its monopolistic practices. Our state legislature shouldn’t be taking us backward by considering a bill that would give Ticketmaster more control over the tickets we buy, reducing competition, and ultimately hurting consumers.

As the founder of the Multicultural Business Alliance, I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the business world. Senate Bill 785 does just the opposite of these principles, and it must be stopped to protect the interests of the many over the profits of the few. We urge California lawmakers to reject this bill and instead focus on policies that promote competition, protect consumers, and ensure a fair and transparent ticketing system.

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