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Austria’s live sector unites for ‘Back to Live’ campaign

Behemoths from across Austria’s live entertainment industry are banding together for a campaign aimed at boosting the sector’s post-lockdown recovery.

The ‘Back to Live’ campaign kicked off today (8 July) with the launch of a portal that gives an overview of upcoming cultural and sporting events, alongside exclusive discounts and offers to entice fans.

The initiative, launched by the Austrian Event Industry Association (IGÖV) and CTS Eventim Austria’s oeticket, comes shortly after the country reopened at the beginning of July.

According to the organisers, the joint initiative is intended to benefit all industries connected to live entertainment including sport, culture, tourism, hospitality, events and music, and accelerate the return to “normal economic conditions”.

The alliance has already attracted more than 120 players including Arcadia Live, Arena Wien, Barracuda Music, Hoanzl Agentur, Leutgeb Entertainment, Live Nation, Masters of Dirt, Musikverein Graz, Posthof Linz, Scheibmaier & Schilling, Show Factory and Szene Wien, from the live music sector.

“With ‘Back to Live’ we convey confidence and joie de vivre after 15 months of almost no events. A flourishing event industry helps many industries, such as the badly suffering city hotel business, to make their comeback and support the artists,” says Ewald Tatar, president of IGÖV and MD at Barracuda Music.

“The campaign will invite everyone to take part so that we can actually make the comeback with our combined strengths”

Georg Hoanzl, IGÖV board member and founder of Hoanzl agency, adds: “The ‘Back to live’ campaign will invite everyone to take part so that we can actually make the comeback with our combined strengths. It is a joint effort that I am happy to support in order to offer the live acts a stage and a platform for the entire culture and event industry.”

Christoph Klingler, CEO at CTS Eventim Austria, says: “Today’s presentation of ‘Back to Live’ is the impetus for a major joint project aimed at the entire industry. We get a ball rolling so that we can get started together and support each other.

“After months of intensive negotiations with politicians to make the comeback possible, we are back with ‘good news’. The concert halls and sports stadiums are being filled again.”

The live sector has returned to business faster than expected after the Austrian government brought forward its date for mass gatherings to restart.

Since 1 July, all events have been permitted to go ahead at full capacity, including standing events, both indoor and outdoor.

Social distancing and masks are not be required, but event attendees still have to meet one of three rules to gain admission: they must be vaccinated; they must be able to provide a negative Covid test; or they must be able to prove that they have recovered from a Covid infection.


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Another legal defeat for ticket fees in Austria

Another judge has sided with the Austrian Consumers’ Association (VKI) in its legal dispute with CTS Eventim over the fees it levies on print-at-home tickets.

In August Vienna Commercial Court, a court of first instance, found that the fees on tickets sold via CTS’s oeticket website, which charges €2.50 for ‘print @ home’ and mobile tickets and €1.90 for those picked up from branches of Libro or oeticket’s own box offices, are “unusual and disadvantageous” for consumers and inadmissible under Austrian law.

“We hope in the interest of consumers this judgment will be final”

The lawsuit by VKI against CTS Eventim last week reached the Higher Regional Court of Vienna (Oberlandesgericht Wien, OLG), which on 5 December similarly ruled the fees to be illegal, although the verdict is not yet legally binding.

According to VKI, the OLG took particular exception to the fact oeticket does not offer a fee-free delivery option, leaving the consumer with no option but to pay them.

“We hope in the interest of ticket buyers that this judgment will be final, meaning consumers are [finally] able to purchase tickets without these additional costs,” says VKI lawyer Joachim Kogelmann.

 


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CTS’s oeticket defeated in Austria over ticket fees

A court of first instance has found against CTS Eventim Austria, ruling that the practice of charging delivery fees on tickets – including those printed at home – is illegal.

The case, brought by the Consumer Information Association (VKI), concerns tickets sold via CTS’s oeticket website, which charges €2.50 for ‘print @ home’ and mobile tickets and €1.90 for those picked up from branches of Libro or oeticket’s own box offices.

According to to the Handelsgericht (commercial court) of Vienna, such charges are “unusual and disadvantageous” for consumers and inadmissible under Austrian law.

CTS Eventim will likely appeal against the verdict, which is not yet final, as it has in a similar case making its way through the courts in Germany.

OLG upholds ban on self-printed ticket fees

If and when the court’s decision becomes legally binding, affected consumers are expected to have up to 30 years to apply retroactively for refunds.

“Charing customers a fee to print their own tickets is very surprising,” says VKI lawyer Joachim Kogelmann, who adds that the judgment should lead to “more price clarity when buying a ticket”.

 


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