German television personality Jan Böhmermann appears to have single-handedly knocked more than 1 billion euros ($1.15 billion) from the market value of CTS Eventim after he criticized the concert promoter and ticketing company on his late-night talk show ZDF Magazin Royale on German public television on Friday.
According to various media reports, Böhmermann, in a 23-minute news-styled feature, bemoaned the company’s dominant market position in promotion and ticketing and a lack of transparency about the fees added to tickets. “Eventim is practically the German event industry,” the satirist said (as translated to English) He singled out the company’s re-sale platform, fanSale, which allows ticket holders to sell tickets at a premium to their face values. “Why fight the black market when you can earn money yourself?” he asked.
Böhmermann also said that CTS Eventim received 15 million euros ($16 million) of COVID-19 economic aid from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. In total, the company received 272 million euros ($295 million) in economic aid from Germany and elsewhere from 2020 to 2022, according to the company’s financial statements. He noted that a director, Juliane Schulenberg, is the daughter of CTS Eventim founder and chairman Klaus-Peter Schulenberg. She has been a member of the CTS Eventim’s supervisory board since May 2016, according to the company’s website.
“Unfortunately, many facts are twisted and not the truth,” a CTS Eventim spokesperson told Billboard in an email. While Böhmermann suggested Juliane Schulenberg influenced COVID-19 aid received by CTS Eventim, the company’s spokesperson says she “had no professional position in this regard and therefore no influence.”
ZDF Magazin Royale made a significant impact when the market opened after the weekend. Shares of CTS Eventim fell 8.9% on Monday and another 7.5% on Tuesday, bringing the two-day decline to 15.7% — a 1.07 billion euros ($1.15 billion) decline in market capitalization. After a 0.8% gain on Wednesday, shares of CTS Eventim were up 1.3% year to date.
CTS Eventim is the largest concert promotion and ticketing company in Europe and had revenues of 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) and sold 69 million tickets online in 2022. Its portfolio includes EDM promoter ALDA Germany; the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals; numerous ticketing brands; EMC Presents, a partnership with U.S. tour promoter and producer Michael Cohl; and Eventim Live Asia, a partnership with former Live Nation executive Jason Miller based in Singapore.
U.S. audiences will recall a similar segment about the country’s dominant ticketing company, Ticketmaster, by comedian John Oliver on his HBO show Last Week Tonight in 2022. Oliver touched on the same themes brought up by Böhmermann: market dominance, rising ticket fees and ownership of a secondary market that profits from in-demand tickets’ re-sale values. Oliver had a negligible effect, however, as the share price of Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, dropped just 0.5% the day after the episode aired. A chance of government intervention has given Live Nation investors pause on numerous occasions, however, such as politicians’ criticism of Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift pre-sale in November and a 2018 New York Times article about Live Nation’s alleged anticompetitive business practices.
Just as Live Nation and Ticketmaster are under constant scrutiny in the U.S., CTS Eventim routinely falls into the crosshairs of consumer advocates and government regulators. In February, more than 1,500 consumers in Germany had joined a model declaratory judgment against CTS Eventim filed by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. The consumer advocacy group alleges the company did not refund ticketing fees for cancelled events. In 2018, CTS Eventim’s share price fell as much as 10% after Germany’s Federal Supreme Court ruled the fees charged for printing out tickets ordered online were illegal. Also in 2018, the German Federal Cartel Office banned CTS Eventim from having exclusive ticketing agreements with promoters and box offices. In 2017, the Cartel Office blocked CTS Eventim from acquiring promoter and booking agency Four Artists, which a German court upheld the following year.