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Published on May 15th, 2013 | by Seb

Stop legalised ticket touting

A while ago here at STAND, a Manchester City fan contributed an article regarding the ticket touting company ViaGoGo. You may notice the aberration of a company advertised clearly during ‘elite football’ matches. City signed a deal allowing the legal ticket tout to sell tickets with an excess of 30% on them.

This morning the news broke that Tottenham Hotspur had signed a three-year deal with StubHub. The contract allowed season ticket holders to sell tickets for games they can’t attend to StubHub and in return StubHub will sell the tickets on to other fans, with a 15% add-on fee that goes directly to the tout.

It is a criminal offence for someone to sell on tickets, however in the eyes of some clubs the likes of ViaGoGo and TicketHub are acceptable. These legal touts were selling tickets for the Tyne-Wear derby from £250.

The sad fact is that inflated ticket prices detract the ‘traditional fan’ who may not be able to afford the ever-increasing cost. They also encourage the ‘tourist fans’ the clubs seem to crave. The fans who go to one game, spend hundreds on replica kits and other gimmicks in the club shops and then don’t return. They’d rather the families who spend obscene prices than the savvy local who brings a packed lunch and a hip flask. It makes them more money, plain and simple.

@STANDAMF’s twitter feed went into overdrive this morning with heated debates from our followers about tourists, clubs, TV revenue and ticket touting.

It became clear that there are various outlets online that offer tickets at face value and they are becoming vital in fighting off the corporations who want a quick, guaranteed buck. @arsenal_tickets offer a service for Gooners and crucially @HotspurTickets will offer Spurs fans a more affordable alternative to StubHub. West Ham have @WestHamTwickets, Newcastle United fans can purchase via @nufcawaytickets. Liverpool fans can purchase via @LFCfacevalue.@CannyGo, take tickets at face value or less and @Twickets offer the same service. The clubs seeing these as rivals to their own schemes obviously don’t approve, @CityTicketX have suffered countless attempts by Manchester City to shut the service down.

The more clubs that sign these deals the more likely these services are likely to be crushed by the corporate behemoths so at STAND we think it’s crucial to raise awareness of the problem that will inevitably price fans out of their clubs.

The Football Supporters Foundation supports the notion that there are new models required to stop ‘legalised touting’ and acknowledged during the debate that while some fans may not get ripped off, the majority do pay “exorbitant prices to 3rd parties.”

If we look, again, to Germany, the approach to ticket touts is a model that could be applied here. Schalke fans set up their own protest group against ViaGoGo. While @sheifness informed us that  TicketBoerse  was a useful service. “If you want to sale your ticket, you just have to insert your ticket id and the service will offer a new printed ticket. for the exact same price you bought it. you have nothing to do. they will print the new ticket and send it to the to the buyer. and the service will transfer the money to your bank account. it’s fair and you have not to mail the ticket.”

There is growing issue in football around these ticket tout companies and while clubs continue to sign deals with them fans will continue to pay over-the-odds to watch football, that much is obvious.

Go to @STANDAMF  to see the debate and  give us your two cents using the #stoplegalisedtouting hashtag.

Ian Perkins


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