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Live Nation to provide free concert tickets under legal settlement

By David Jones

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - Concert promoter Live Nation Worldwide Inc. must provide free tickets and discount vouchers to hundreds of thousands of customers to settle claims that it overcharged for shows at a New Jersey arts center, a judge has ruled.

The settlement stems from a 2009 lawsuit alleging that concertgoers at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, were overcharged for tickets by the use of deceptive practices.

One such practice was a $6 parking fee, whether or not the attendees had a vehicle, while another was a charity fee that was not passed on to any charity, the suit claimed. The suit also said the company promoted no service fees on Wednesdays that was deceptive as well.

A federal judge in Trenton, New Jersey, approved the preliminary legal settlement on Monday. Live Nation produces some 22,000 shows a year and owns Ticketmaster, a major sales and distribution company.

It applies to some 363,000 customers who bought tickets online for the PNC Bank Arts Center between June 2003 and June 2011.

Under the deal, Live Nation will provide three general admission tickets to certain events and discount coupons for tickets bought online.

"We're pleased," said attorney Henry Wolfe, who represented one of the two New Jersey men who filed the lawsuit.

Live Nation said in a statement that it would not comment beyond what is contained in the court documents "out of respect for the judge and the process."

"We look forward to the final resolution of this matter," it said.

A final hearing on the settlement is scheduled for March 28.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)

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