A federal jury found Clear Channel Communications had competed unfairly to block a Chicago competitor from promoting motorcycle races and awarded the smaller event firm more than $90 million in damages, including $73 million in punitive damages.
JamSports and Entertainment, LLC, a unit of Jam Productions, charged Clear Channel with intimidating the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) into reneging on a multi-year agreement under which JamSports was to promote Supercross events.
Clear Channel was found liable for interfering with a letter of intent that Jam had signed in November 2001 with Paradama Productions to be the tour's promoter from 2003 to 2009. Paradama is the motorcycle racing unit of the AMA. Clear Channel was not liable in the most serious claim of antitrust behavior. The jury awarded Jam $17 million in damages for lost profit and punitive damages of $73 million.
The case represented the first time a company was able to bring claims against Clear Channel to a jury. Clear Channel says it will appeal the March 21 verdict.
Jeffrey Singer, partner with the firm Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, which represented Jam, said Clear Channel illegally used its entertainment industry clout to gain promotion rights. "The jury's verdict sends a clear message that companies must act responsibly and ethically in their business dealings. Illegal corporate bullying simply will not be tolerated," Singer said.
Singer said a significant amount of Jam's case involved the introduction of Clear Channel's internal emails into evidence. He said emails recommended the company take extremely aggressive action to block Jam and even suggested that disc jockeys at two Clear Channel radio stations should badmouth the company.
Clear Channel, based in San Antonio, Texas, operates about 1,200 radio stations and 41 television stations in the United States and is the world's largest producer of concerts and other live-entertainment events. The company posted revenues of $9.4 billion in 2004.
Jerry Mickelson, a JamSports principal, founded Chicago-based Jam Productions in 1972. Jam Productions is one of the country's largest independent concert and special-events promoter and competes with Clear Channel in the concert promotion business.
Copyright 2005 Powersports Business