Ozzy Osbourne has filed an antitrust suit against against AEG, the operator of the O2 Arena in London and operator of the Staples Center in LA, among others. Ozzy is alleging that AEG is illegally requiring artists perform at Staples if they want to perform at O2, the “Staples Center Commitment.” It is a fairly straight-forward and plausible claim. AEG has market power in large-scale venues in London and is leveraging that power to increase sales in Los Angeles to the detriment of competition in Los Angeles, where there is a lot of choice in venues. The allegation that AEG took the time to give their scheme a name is probably the most shocking, and damming, allegation in the complaint. And Ozzy has hired highly-regarded Dan Wall of Latham San Francisco. This case is legitimate.
I suspect that the few of you who read, and the fewer of you who enjoy, antitrust blogs are likely not particularly adamant fans of Mr. Osbourne. He’s purportedly done some interesting things in life, and writes songs some view as a bit “dark.” Like Mr. Crowley, a song about English occultist Aleister Crowley. Ozzy has purportedly bit the head off a live bat in concert, a fact that people appear to bring up to him and every one of his relatives on a fairly regular basis. He also starred in an MTV reality program called the Osbournes, which I actually enjoyed.
There is nothing particularly novel about the case—other than tying cases are increasingly difficult to prove. A positive result for Ozzy will be valuable to any artist forced to play a venue she didn’t want just to get access to a better facility. But there aren’t many acts that can play O2 in the first place. It’s just cool that Ozzy Osbourne is the plaintiff.