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US: Judge dismisses 49ers antitrust suit

 |  January 17, 2016

A federal judge has dismissed with prejudice an antitrust class action suit that accused the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and Ticketmaster of monopolizing the market for the resale of season tickets.

Lead plaintiff Amir Kazemzadeh sued the 49ers and Ticketmaster in August claiming antitrust violations and trespass to chattels. The lawsuit sought class certification, an injunction, disgorgement and distribution of money received and punitive damages. Specifically, Kazemzadeh claimed that this year, for the first time, the 49ers blocked him and other season ticketholders from getting their tickets until 72 hours before game time. In previous seasons, Kazemzadeh said he could print his tickets in advance and give them as gifts or post them for sale on websites such as StubHub.

Under a new policy, the only way ticketholders can resell before the three-day limit is through Ticketmaster’s NFL TicketExchange website, which the suit contended prevents competition in the secondary ticket market, reducing the number of 49ers tickets for sale on other websites while increasing the number on the NFL Ticket Exchange. The exchange charges buyers 15 percent extra, with a 10 percent surcharge for season ticketholders and a 15 percent service fee, the complaint estimated.

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