AEG has responded to the lawsuit Ozzy Osbourne filed against the concert agency, saying that the company "has always worked hard to put artists first." The BLACK SABBATH singer has alleged that AEG is using a practice called "block-booking" to force him to perform at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against his wishes.
Ozzy had tentatively agreed to perform at London's O2 Arena on February 11, 2019 as part of his "No More Tours 2" farewell run, but he claims that AEG added a provision stating that if Osbourne played an indoor arena within 25 miles of Los Angeles that was promoted by competitor Live Nation during the tour, he would have to play the AEG-owned Staples Center as well.
Osbourne's attorney Daniel Wall with Latham Watkins accuses AEG of being a "monopolist" and trying to force Ozzy to play AEG's venue in Los Angeles in exchange for a London date at the arena.
AEG has now responded to Ozzy's lawsuit, telling Billboard in a statement: "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."
Osbourne wants a judge to invalidate the provision in his contract that forces him to perform at Staples.
Variety reported that AEG's O2/Staples requirement came about in response to a challenge from MSG that found the company refusing to book acts into Madison Square Garden if they played at AEG's Staples Center in Los Angeles instead of the MSG-operated Forum. In response, AEG informed agents and promoters that acts who perform at The Forum instead of Staples will not be booked at London's O2 Arena.
Ozzy's final world tour kicks off this spring with dates in Mexico, South America and Europe, coming to North America in August. It's slated to last until 2020.