The Philly POPS today filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Center (POKC), alleging that POKC has willfully engaged in “unlawful, anticompetitive and predatory conduct” designed to “force the Philly POPS out of business so that Philadelphia Orchestra could eliminate the Philly Pops as a competitor” in order to monopolize the market for POPS music in Greater Philadelphia.
The lawsuit follows months of attempts by the POPS, America’s largest standalone POPs orchestra, to resolve their financial issues with POKC and permit the completion of the current 2022-2023 performance season at the Kimmel. Rather than resolve the dispute, the lawsuit alleges, POKC instead has deliberately acted to prevent POPS performances at the Kimmel Center, going so far as to evict the POPS on three days’ notice in mid-January.
“We have tried for months to resolve our financial issues, even going to far as to make repeated attempts to satisfy what we believed to be excessive POKC’s monetary demands. Yet POKC has steadfastly refused to allow the POPS to honor our obligations to our ticketholders – tickets that were sold in partnership with the Kimmel – and permit us to complete the current season at the Kimmel Center”.
“It is clear that POKC’s goal all along has been to drive Philly POPS out of business,” William DeStefano, attorney for the POPS said. “They want to eliminate the POPS as a competitor, so that they can develop their own pops programming and monopolize the market for this music in Philadelphia.
“We are asking the Court to prevent them from doing so, and we look forward to having our day in court.”
As a result of POKC’s conduct, the Philly POPS has been forced to postpone the balance of its 2022-2023 performance season and search for alternative venues to host these performances. To date, the POPS remains committed to completing its concert season and honoring its obligations to its ticketholders.
A full copy of the Complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is available here. As is customary in antitrust litigation, the lawsuit seeks treble damages against POKC as well as payment of attorneys’ fees. The Complaint also asks the Court to enjoin POKC from continuing to deny Philly POPS access to the Kimmel Center.”