According to Billboard, Sharon Osbourne is claiming that her husband Ozzy Osbourne is being “blackmailed” by AEG Live. She says the company is trying to use block-booking practices to get Ozzy to play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Ozzy is supposed perform at the AEG owned O2 Arena in London on February 11, 2019, and as part of the deal AEG are saying that if Ozzy had a Live Nation promoted indoor concert within 25 miles of Los Angeles, he would have to play the AEG owned Staples Center too.
Sharon shared the following statement on February 7:
“Shame on AEG for bringing artists into a power struggle you’re having with your competitor, Live Nation. I can assure you that Live Nation would never strong-arm an artist into playing a venue they’re not comfortable performing in.”
AEG Live chairman/CEO Jay Maricano then responded with the following:
“Dear Sharon, Thank you for your note. Please understand this dispute is between The Forum and Staples Center and we couldn’t agree with you more — it should always be the artist’s choice. We long for the days when artists and fans came first. PS – The other guys started this first!”
A day later Sharon issued another statement, which AEG would not respond to:
“This is a staggering attempt to blackmail Ozzy into playing your venue in Los Angeles. It is also a complete abuse of bargaining power and not conducive to a free market. If you do not confirm the date for Ozzy at the O2 in London then I will be forced to take legal action against AEG Live! without delay. I find the way you’re conducting yourself and your company to be no more than childish playground tactics. I cannot be involved in a squabble between two venue owning promoters as my interests only lie 100 pecent with Ozzy.”
Live Nation U.K. chairman Denis Desmond has since responded to the story by filing a complaint with the Competition and Market Authority (CMA), saying that AEG are violating British competition and anti-trust laws, but the complaint was dismissed because the dispute started in Los Angeles.