Naperville Contract Attorney Discusses Lawsuit Over Concert Tickets, Start Time

When you buy a ticket to a concert, show, or sporting event, you begin making plans to attend. Your ticket gives you certain considerations—such as a guaranteed seat—and you give the ticket agent your money. In many ways, an event ticket is essentially a type of contract.

In my practice as a business law and contract lawyer, I deal with various types of contracts virtually every day. An event ticket, however, is a rather unique type of contract—if you can even call it a contract. Whether or not an event ticket is an enforceable contract is likely to be an important factor in a lawsuit that was recently filed in a Florida court.

Man Sues Madonna and Live Nation

Pop icon Madonna is scheduled to perform in Miami Beach next month. Back in August, a Florida man purchased three tickets to the December 17th show, shelling out over $1,000 to Live Nation, the concert promoter. In October, Live Nation and Madonna announced that the start time for the show in Miami would be pushed back from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

According to reports, the man no longer intends to go to the show because of the later start time, but he says that Live Nation would not issue a refund for his tickets. He also says that he cannot recover what he paid for them on the secondary ticket market because the late start time caused the tickets to lose value.

Last week, the man filed suit in Miami-Dade court seeking damages for an alleged breach of contract by the artist and the promotion group. The lawsuit alleges that change in start time caused him to suffer “actual and consequential damages including, but not limited to, loss of consideration paid and the devaluation of the ticket.”

Event Tickets as Contracts?

At the very least, an event ticket is a license to enter the event venue, but it does meet the general requirements for a valid contract. There is the offer of entrance to the event, acceptance of the offer, and consideration for all parties.

There are some issues, however, that raise questions about the validity of a ticket as a contract. A contract is an agreement between interested parties that can only be entered into after all of the parties are aware of the terms of the agreement. With an event ticket, there are terms and conditions on the back of the ticket, but you only receive the ticket after you complete the transaction. This means you cannot read the terms and conditions—which may even include an assumption of risk statement—until you have already paid for the ticket.

There is also the concern about changes to the scheduled event. Some events, such as boxing matches or mixed martial arts events, print a disclaimer on their tickets that say that the scheduled card is subject to change. Likewise, a ticket to a baseball game shows the venue’s “rain-check” policy. In most situations, a cancellation results in a refund or some other consideration offered in return.

In this case, the ticketholder is alleging that the schedule change was made without any consideration offered for those affected by it. It will be interesting to see if the court agrees with him.

Questions About Contracts? Call a Naperville Business Agreement Attorney

If you run a business, you almost certainly rely on contracts to conduct your everyday operations. Contact an experienced DuPage County business contract attorney to get the answers you need to whatever contract-related questions you may have. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.


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