Ticketmaster sues bot firms for allegedly hoarding tickets to ‘Hamilton,’ Mayweather fight

The Broadway musical
The Broadway musical “Hamilton” is among the events for which Ticketmaster claims Prestige entertainment used bots to hoard tickets and resell at higher value. Photo Credit: Getty Images / David Becker

Ticketmaster filed a lawsuit Monday accusing Prestige Entertainment of violating Ticketmaster’s terms of use by deploying bots to buy large quantities of tickets, then reselling them at a profit for two years.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims that Prestige Entertainment and defendants affiliated with it ordered at least 313,528 tickets using 9,047 different accounts between January 2015 and September 2016. Many of the purchases were allegedly made using software designed to place large orders much more rapidly than a human could through Ticketmaster’s website or mobile app, according to court documents.

Ticketmaster requested an injunction and an unspecified amount of compensation for damages it has incurred, according to court documents.

“Ticketmaster has zero tolerance for bots and will continue to employ all available methods to stop their usage,” the company said in a statement, noting that Prestige Entertainment’s actions have left “real fans out in the cold.”

Prestige Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The court complaint claims that Ticketmaster noticed Prestige Entertainment’s actions when it worked with other defendants to buy majority of the tickets available through Ticketmaster to the 2015 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

Ticketmaster then sent a cease and desist letter to Nicholas Lombardi at Prestige, which he acknowledged receiving, according to the lawsuit.

But Ticketmaster claims the conduct continued. In court documents, Ticketmaster alleged the defendants purchased tens of thousands of tickets to the “Hamilton” musical, often accounting for 30 to 40 percent of the tickets to a given performance, according to the complaint.In May 2017, Prestige Entertainment, also known as Renaissance, paid $3.35 million in a settlement agreement with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Office, which found the firm illegally used bots to buy tickets.

As part of the agreement, Renaissance agreed to abstain from using bots, but Ticketmaster alleges it has found evidence that the firm has not abided by that agreement.

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