Ozzy sues against rule to play LA arena


Los Angeles (AFP)

Ozzy Osbourne has sued to stop a requirement to play the Staples Center in Los Angeles which he said was imposed by its owner as a condition to book London's lucrative 02 Arena.

The British-born metal legend filed a class-action suit this week in his adopted home of Los Angeles, meaning he hopes a judge will allow other artists to join him in the case.

In the lawsuit, Osbourne said that the AEG entertainment company which owns both venues told him that artists on global tours had to play the Staples Center if they perform at The O2 Arena, a 20,000-capacity venue on The Thames that opened in 2007.

"The O2 is a singular concert venue -- the only indoor arena in London with the capacity to host major concerts. The O2 is a 'must-have' venue for the top international touring artist," he said, pointing to data that showed that the arena was the most profitable in the world in ticket sales.

By contrast, Osbourne said the Staples Center had a credible rival in Los Angeles in The Forum, an arena renovated several years ago by the owners of Madison Square Garden in New York.

The lawsuit asks for a court to block the "blatant anticompetitive conduct" of AEG and does not seek financial compensation other than lawyers' fees.

Osbourne alleged that AEG imposed the requirement because it was losing out to The Forum after first competing with better incentives.

AEG did not immediately respond to the lawsuit. The lawsuit quoted a purported email between Sharon Osbourne, the rocker's wife and manager, and AEG chief operating officer Jay Marciano.

He is quoted as saying, in reference to Madison Square Garden, "The other guys started this first!"

The lawsuit denied that Madison Square Garden imposed similar requirements and noted that New York also had strong competition among arenas.

Osbourne, the occult-dabbling former frontman of Black Sabbath, next month embarks on what he says will be his final world tour.

The 69-year-old has no concerts scheduled in London but will play the open-air Hollywood Bowl in the Los Angeles area.