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Competition disgruntled over Tartu 2024 decision to partner with Piletilevi

Rehearsal of the Tartu 2024 opening ceremony.
Rehearsal of the Tartu 2024 opening ceremony. Source: Mikk Otsar / Tartu 2024

Event ticketing platforms in Estonia are critical of the Tartu 2024 Foundation's decision to go with competitor Piletilevi without holding a public procurement.

Tickets platform Piletikeskus learned to its surprise that the Tartu [European Capital of Culture] 2024 Foundation had already picked a ticketing partner. It turned out that the team behind the Tartu 2024 events did not hold a public procurement and only considered partnering with two platforms: Piletilevi and Piletitasku. The foundation eventually went with the former.

"We were looking forward to the tender, and because we are a Tartu-based company, we would have been delighted to get the opportunity," Piletikeskus CEO Jaan Naaber told ERR. "Had we known there was a competition, we would have contested the result or at the very least asked for more information. They had told us that there was no tender and that Tartu 2024 was under no obligation to hold a public procurement as it was not the service procurer," the executive said.

He added that Tartu 2024 claimed its decision to only negotiate with Piletitasku and Piletilevi was based on marked research, while there are no further details.

The team at the Tartu 2024 Foundation said it would not comment on its decision before Tuesday on account of being busy with the Tartu 2024 opening events.

Indrek Poolak, CEO of Piletitasku, said that he would have expected a tender with a clear range of dates for such an extensive program – one involving all market participants.

Heads of another two service providers active in Estonia – Piletimaailm and Fienta – also said they were not included in the competition.

But Sven Nuutmann, executive manager of Piletilevi, said that the company was not aware of who else Tartu 2024 was negotiating with. "Why they ended up requesting offers from us and Piletitasku is that both companies offer very strong advertising portfolios. That's all I can say," Nuutmann remarked.

Information from the Ministry of Finance suggests that a public procurement is in order starting from a contract volume of at least €60,000. Jaan Naaber from Piletikeskus said that the company has asked to see the contract Tartu 2024 signed with Piletilevi but has not gotten the chance.

"It is a black box as it includes confidential details of services and the contract between Piletilevi and Tartu 2024," Naaber said. Piletikeskus on January 16 sent the Tartu 2024 Foundation an official request for information to which a reply needs to be sent inside five days. Elve Adamson, a lawyer for the Data Protection Inspectorate, said that Piletikekus can now choose whether to turn to court.

While the Public Procurements Act does not require contracts to be disclosed in full, the cost of service, sides and date need to be made public.

Among the stated goals of European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 is to rack up a million visits between all of its events, with over a thousand of the latter planned.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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