Ozzy Osbourne sues AEG
- Bang Showbiz
- 22 March 2018
Ozzy Osbourne has taken legal action against concert promoters and venue owners AEG, claiming they won't let him play the O2 Arena in London without doing a show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles
Ozzy Osbourne is suing concert promoters AEG.
The 69-year-old rocker was reportedly planning to perform at the O2 Arena in London - the city's largest venue - in February 2019 but has accused the company, who own the facility, of "anticompetitive conduct" because they allegedly said his own UK promoter Live Nation could only book the gig if he also performed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The lawsuit claims: "AEG said [The O2] was available - but only on the condition that Ozzy be bound by the Staples Center Commitment.
"Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy's wife and business manager, publicly complained about having to sign the Staples Center Commitment, but AEG would not relent."
An email from Sharon Osbourne, in which she accused AEG Presents Chairman and CEO Jay Marciano of trying to "strong-arm an artist into playing a venue they're not comfortable performing in", was included in the complaint.
The email also said: "Shame on AEG for bringing artists into a power struggle that you're having with your competition, Live Nation."
But despite Sharon's objections, the suit claims the former Black Sabbath frontman had "no choice at all" but to agree the Los Angeles gig.
The documents noted: "For a major artist such as Ozzy, there is simply no substitute for the O2 Arena when booking the London leg of an international tour."
The suit also noted Los Angeles offers more venue choices and competition than London does.
It stated: "AEG is a clear monopolist in the market for arena-sized venues in greater London - indeed through management contracts it also controls a number of other large venues in greater London in addition to the O2...
"Artists touring in Los Angeles have therefore been able to enjoy the benefits of competition between Staples and the Forum."
AEG - who were previously claimed to have tied the O2 and Staples Center bookings in response to an agreement that required dual booking of Madison Square Garden in New York and Los Angeles' Forum - have insisted the suit is "without merit" and they plan to "vigorously fight" the action.
Jay Marciano, AEG Presents Chairman and CEO, said in a statement to Rolling Stone: "This suit is without merit and we will vigorously fight it. We welcome a closer look at the global live entertainment market and, specifically, our practices and the practices of our competition.
"AEG has always worked hard to put artists first. At the same time, we must respond to the actions of those we compete with, specifically Live Nation and Madison Square Garden. Fighting for a level playing field is fair competition at its core."
Ozzy wants a judge to invalidate the provision in his contract that forces him to perform at Staples and is seeking class action status so other "similarly situated artists" can potentially join as plaintiffs.