Ticket Exchange Sites Are Damaging Cricket

32

Today we have a guest article by Shizah Ahmed, who has a bone to pick with ticket exchange sites. I’m sure we’ve all come across these sites before. You want to go to the game, but have to pay double or sometimes triple the face value to secure your seat. The question is therefore this: are these sites pricing ordinary fans out of the game? Over to you Shizah …

Entrepreneurship was pushed to its limits by greedy ticket re-sellers during the Champions Trophy. An event that promised so much had people going berserk for a chance to see matches live in the stadiums. In an unexpected turn of events, Pakistan stunned both England and India to claim the coveted crown. But who, exactly, watched the final live in the stadium? And how much did they pay for the privilege?

It was a dream come true for fans when several tickets for the final were released immediately after the first semi. I envisaged a stadium packed full of cricket enthusiasts revelling in merriment. Unfortunately however, the tickets sold faster than hot cakes – leaving avid fans with slower internet connections waiting endlessly for a chance to nab a ticket. And that’s when mankind’s ravenous nature predictably unfolded  …

After doing some research on the internet, I was shocked to see tickets with a face value of £40-70 being sold for as much as £500-3000 on websites like Viagogo, Ebay, Gumtree and Stubhub. If this is not sheer exploitation, I do not know what is! Some people’s insatiable appetite for money is absurd.

It is abundantly clear that fans are being taken advantage of, and their passion for the game is being used to coax huge sums of money from people who don’t always have deep pockets.

This vulturous behaviour needs to be curbed by boycotting outrageously priced tickets. The websites involved should ban greedy users and remind them that the only legal way to purchase tickets is through the official ICC website.

Re-selling tickets has obviously become an incredibly profitable business. Many people buy these tickets for the sole purpose of reselling them at ridiculously high prices. Although there are people willing to pay these inflated tickets – perhaps because money is no object to them – surely this highlights the appalling economic disparity across the world. Cricket should therefore stamp down on the practice in the interests of both fair play and growing the game.

Governments and the ICC need to collaborate and ask why it is so easy to buy tickets and then resell them at ten times the cost. The tickets state that resale is not allowed, apart from on the official website, so why are second hand tickets available so freely? It’s surely time for the ICC to crack down on ticket exchange websites and ask them to implement stricter policies.

Respect for the sport, the fans, and sponsors, is an essential part of tournaments like the Champions Trophy. If this unfair profit-making that freezes out hardcore supporters on lower incomes is allowed to continue, cricket will surely be the loser. The game will lose credibility and its roots in the general populace will be damaged.

Shiza Ahmed

32 Comments

  1. It is rubbish for fans but not sure there is the will from ticket sellers to do anything about it and the UK Government can barely regulate industries which provide vital good and services it citizens can not avoid.

    Ticketmaster secretly encourage it. Sell the tickets to someone looking to sell some or all of the tickets they just purchased that is one cut, then let them go on getmein a website they own and let the purchaser resell them and take a % of that sale as well. Profiting off selling the same thing twice.

    It is a scam and the only way not to be ripped off is to as the article says not partake which is my personal preference but we have such inequality in society that for some people 300 quid is an acceptable expense

  2. James Morgan on

    I’ve only sold tickets on Stubhub once … and that was for face value because I had a couple of spares when friends dropped out. NB It wasn’t cricket but another sport.

    My tickets sold straight away because they seemed like a bargain compared to the others being sold in the same category … which all had huge mark ups.

    I’d argue (forgive my self-righteousness) that I used the site for its intended purpose: to pass on unused tickets to fans who missed out beforehand. I suspect the other sellers were touts.

    • I have done the same James, for a concert a couple of years ago, and I watched as my tickets were put back on the same site a couple of days later, only to sell at a much higher price.

    • Yep I know people who aren’t professional touts who intentionally bought the maximum amount of tickets they were allowed for popular concerts often its 4 and sold the extras as a way of paying for their tickets. Free market capitalism I guess

      Bigger problems the ECB are stealing Gary Ballance for the day night game! The handicap system continues

  3. Talking of ridiculous greed, the deadline for TV bids is next Tuesday and we could know the result next Wednesday (unless it goes to a second round).

    Also, today is D-Day for the latest Test Championship proposal (which is so badly desogned I hope it isn’t introduced despite being generally in favour of the idea).

  4. It’s called supply and demand. It’s all very well to castigate people for selling tickets at ridiculous prices but, if people are willing to pay those prices, what’s the problem? It’s the same old boring pub argument about footballers and how much they earn.

    If you bought tickets for the final (which were originally sold on the basis of a lottery by the way), but your team didn’t make it and so you no longer want to attend, you now have in your hands a product that you no longer need but someone else does. Therefore you should be able to re-sell that product at a fair MARKET value.

    If the ICC sell tickets to the final for £70 each, that’s their decision. That doesn’t mean £70 is the face value of the product though, as these re-sale sites evidently prove. The ICC know full well they could charge 5 times that and still sell out the stadium but they choose not to in order to save face and avoid the clamour from people like you.

    • James Morgan on

      I guess the issue is growing the game. If tickets are only available to the richest people in society then it’s going to damage the grass roots of the sport. I know this is a widespread problem in the entertainment industry, but I think there’s a debate to be had … especially as cricket faces many challenges at the moment. We’re not talking about Rolling Stones tickets here.

    • Rupert, I don’t agree with your market value point since tickets for the final did not get sold out on the site straight away and the CLT17 site had to do a few releases of tickets until it was sold out.

      My point being, at the time the tickets were sold they were at Market Value as the ICC is the market maker in this sense. Imagine a situation where teams that have a less number of expats in the UK than India and Pakistan made it to the final. I would not expect the prices to be inflated 100% or possibly not even inflated at all. (Forgive my naievity, but I’m thinking a NZ SA final would probably have much lower demand, just because there is less demand).

      An easy way to stop this would be to check IDs and match names to tickets upon entry ( I’ve seen that being done at some events).

      • I agree, I think they did that for the London Olympics didn’t they?

        Ind vs Pak was the dream final for the ICC and they hit the jackpot. The value of anything is quite simply what someone will pay for it and that can go up or down depending on circumstances. Stick a rubbish dump beside a house and it’ll go down, stick a tube station beside it, it’ll rocket. I don’t see a problem with it at all.

    • People begrudgingly pay those prices because they don’t have a choice. Unscrupulous crooks are attempting to capture their consumer surplus, its the government’s job to stop them. Its rent seeking at its worst, exactly the kind of exploitative behaviour that the government is supposed to prevent.

      “Therefore you should be able to re-sell that product at a fair MARKET value. ”
      Not really, you made the mistake, at most you should be able to recoup your losses. If you’re lucky you might get your expenses covered. You certainly shouldn’t be allowed to profit from your error.

      “If the ICC sell tickets to the final for £70 each, that’s their decision. That doesn’t mean £70 is the face value of the product though”

      Yes it does, because that’s what the term “face value” means – the original price that is decided upon by the organisation providing the service.

      • When are you next selling your house AB? Give me a shout, especially if you bought it some time ago, because I can only assume you’ll be selling it for what you bought it for in order to recoup your losses for the error you made in buying it in the first place.

        Oh and please remember to take your hammer and sickle from the shed 🙂

  5. Totally agree – I was very sad to hear a number of people including Michael Vaughan say that Cardiff should not host international matches if they can’t fill the stadium. Yet the SWALEC were saying there were no tickets available for most of the CT17 matches so one can only assume they had been sold to these sites.

    Cardiff happens to be the only ground it is comparatively easy for me to get to and from in a day and I would be really sad if they stopped holding internationals there. Edgbaston is okay but then they go and hold a day/night test there and there are no late-night trains back to my little country station and it’s expensive enough without having to book a hotel room as well. I go on my own to cricket (none of my friends round here are cricket lovers) so I’m a bit careful where I go and at what time of day.

    On another note, is anyone getting irritated by the so-called coverage of county cricket by the BBC? I switched on 5Live Xtra on Wednesday to listen to some championship cricket and they were doing rugby league from Australia, NSW v Queensland or similar. They seem to abandon cricket for something else, women’s football, racing etc, at the drop of a hat and tell us it’s on the internet. Well not everybody is hunched over their computer all day or can afford to listen via their mobile phone (I read somewhere that the data involved in a day’s cricket commentary is around 11Gb). God knows why everyone wants them to do FTA cricket – they would be forever leaving it to go elsewhere and telling us we can watch on their website.

    • I loved the atmosphere at Cardiff for the England game and I think it was sold out (?) had a chat with one of the stewards and they really wanted more ICC games at the ground! The ICC wasn’t helping in that regard because they had asked them to take way noisy horns that day which were allowed in the Srilanka game making the staff look stupid.

    • Totally agree. Everyone on this site seems to hate Sky but I’ve been a cricket fan for 30 years and I can remember the days when it was shown on BBC exclusively. I can honestly say (and I have no interest or stake in Sky whatsoever) that Sky’s coverage is 1000 times better than the BBC’s ever was. Would the BBC devote a whole channel to a Test series? Would they have evening review programmes with experts dissecting the days play? Would they have documentaries showing us how cricket is being developed in little known places or how bats/balls are made? No, of course not. They wouldn’t even show us the whole game without cutting to something else let alone anything extra. C4 and C5 have done a passable highlights package from time to time but I wouldn’t trust the BBC with anything involving cricket at all.

      • +1 to all of that. I love Sky’s coverage, it’s the best sports coverage and analysis I’ve ever seen for any sport. I agree some terrestrial coverage is necessary because cricket is losing its appeal amongst kids but I am happy to pay my monthly Sky subscription to watch the masterclasses alone.

      • Every now and then we get these ludicrous analogies that compare the coverage of an obscenely rich subscription sports broadcaster in 2017 to the coverage of a nationally owned FTA mainstream channel in 1997 as if that was even remotely valid. Its like comparing a the features on a 1985 Ford Orion to a state of the art BMW 5 series, and concluding that a modern Ford would be equally terrible.

        I think it must be trolls. It has to be.

        Rupert above is actually Rupert Murdoch himself. No-one else loves sky that much.

      • ” I can honestly say (and I have no interest or stake in Sky whatsoever) that Sky’s coverage is 1000 times better than the BBC’s ever was”.

        Jeez, how many times does it have to be said that this comparing 1990s TV with 2010s TV, not comparing the BBC to Sky. C4’s coverage was every bit as good as Sky’s. When Sky need to provide some serious analysis of complex events (like in 2014 with the B4 power-grab or the Pietersen debacle) their coverage was pathetic and showed they are joined at the hip with the ECB. I agree with AB that continued ridiculous comments like this have the stench of paid trolling about them.

        If Sky’s coverage is so good, put cricket on Sky and an FTA channel and see which one most people choose. Sky’s monopolistic practices show they know what the answer would be – and it wouldn’t be in their favour.

  6. A few years ago there was a consumer rights bill passed which at one stage had a proposal that the buyer of a re-sold ticket be given the right to know the identity of the seller. So if, hypothetically, a Mr T Harrison was the seller of a ticket for twenty times face value it would be in the open. IIRC MPs had no particular objection and government ministers blocked it!

  7. I use sites such as Twickets to buy and sell tickets – can sell for no more than face value + booking fee. I think that’s the most ethical way to do it – especially if you have a genuine reason to not be able to attend.

    • I believe a lot of fans missed out on watching this epic battle go down between India and Pakistan. I even called a person up requesting him
      to sell one ticket for £100 (I was really desperate at this point). He has originally bought it for £40 so that still gives him a good profit, but he was adamant on selling it for a mammoth £850! And this was a few hours before the match! I called another who had tickets he had gotten for free from a company he was a client of, and he was selling one for £700! Unbelievable what people will do to make some easy money; this is disrespectful for the game and its followers. These websites should have a strict policy of how much over the face value can one ticket be sold off for.

  8. I don’t agree with ticket touting, however, cricket (and many other sports, theatres etc) is guilty, to some extent, of wanting to have their cake and eat it. To secure tickets you are told you need to pay upfront about 9 or 10 months in advance. If, for whatever reason, you find that you can’t use the tickets the response from personal experience is either:

    Sorry the match is’nt sold out so try selling them to other people or the match is sold out so dont dare try to sell them to other people.

  9. It is actually pretty heartening to see so many people agree with me and share my pain! Hope in future games to come we can bring this attitude down a notch or at least try. 🙂

    • Cricketcricketcricket on

      You were willing to spend £100 on a 50 over game!! Wow.. I’m not sure anyone willing to spend that much just for a game can moan about prices.

  10. Cricketcricketcricket on

    Idiots keep paying the money so nothing wrong with it. If people just said no ans didn’t buy them, then the price would soon fall.

    No sympathy

    We tell people to make money are all costs and are then surprised when that’s exactly what people do!

  11. I was desperate to watch the game…I thought may be someone would relent to that price knowing the hour of the game was close. That is obviously a very hefty price but then again, fans like me do succumb to such extortion. I don’t think even the richest lot of all would want to pay £850 per ticket for a 50 over game…but some people do. I don’t think they don’t care about such hefty amounts of money flying out of their tickets but they fall a victim to their passion for the game.

  12. Anyone who thinks these tickets being sold for extortionate amounts are innocent fans who suddenly find they can’t attend the game and so sell the tickets on at the “market rate” needs their head seeing to.

    Its professional criminal organisations, who use automated algorithms to buy up all the tickets for popular events the moment they go on sale, corner the market, and then use their illegally gained market power to demand eye-watering markups. They’re inserting themselves into the middle of a transaction where they’re not wanted.

    This isn’t “entrepreneurship” or “law of supply and demand”, its criminal rent-seeking. No-one gains from this except the criminal gangs who run the operation. Sounds like Rupert works for such an organisation.

Leave A Reply