CCE found in breach of contract.
A Chicago jury awarded $90 million to Jam Productions today (March 21) in a breach of contract/anti-trust suit against Clear Channel Entertainment (CCE) regarding promotion of American Motorcycle Assn. (AMA) events.
"This is a victory for the good guys and all of us who have to compete every day with Clear Channel," says Jerry Mickelson, co-owner of Jam with Arny Granat. "I feel vindicated that the jury saw the evidence and sent a message."
Jam had initially asked for $32 million in damages. The judgement was awarded on the tortious interference with prospective economic advantage charge, and not the anti-trust count, Mickelson tells Billboard.biz.
The focus of the case was on promotional rights for supercross events for the AMA. Jam alleged that CCE unfairly used its clout in the marketplace to shut out JamSports, the sports division of Jam Productions, from producing Supercross events.
JamSports (which counts Tom Petty manager Tony Dimitriades among its principals) filed the suit in April 2002 in the Northern District Court of Illinois. The trial began Feb. 7.
At issue was a long-term contract to produce supercross events, which for years were held by CCE's motorsports division. The AMA had signed a letter of intent with JamSports in late 2001 for a long-term deal, but supercross ended up back with CCE, a longtime producer of AMA supercross events.
"I think the industry was watching this very closely, and a lot of people were rooting for us," says Mickelson.
In a statement, CCE responds, "We are very disappointed that the jury didn't see this case for what it really was -- a disgruntled competitor who couldn't succeed in the marketplace and took his case to the courtroom. Competition is vital to business. Clear Channel plays by the rules and does quite well."
CCE says it will "vigorously appeal" the jury's decision.
"Indeed, this jury's decision that we did not violate antitrust laws should be a powerful signal to those who seek to wrongfully accuse us in the future -- it just won't work," adds CCE. "We are a competitive company -- and we compete within the limits of the law."