The beginning of the end for ticket touts?
News today from Ticketmaster might finally mark the beginning of the end for secondary ticketing sites as it announces the closure of GET ME IN! and Seatwave.
The war between consumers and secondary ticketing sites has been waging for quite some time, fuelled by stories of people being ripped off for thousands of pounds. And it’s not just consumers who have a problem with the way things are run – artists, government, the Competition and Market Authority and campaign group The FanFair Alliance have all raised concerns with secondary ticketing sites resulting in actions such as an investigation being launched against swiss-based Viagogo and Ed Sheeran supporting his fans in getting approximately £1.25m in refunds after he refused entry to anyone with secondary-purchased tickets to his shows.
The problems with secondary ticketing sites have been amplified by professional touters who buy tickets in bulk and re-list them for extortionate prices, pushing up the market price. As well as facilitating high value sales of tickets, certain sites have also been penalised for misleading customers when it comes to prices by adding fees on to the final booking page, resulting in unwitting consumers paying far more than they expect.
Andrew Parsons, head of Ticketmaster UK said about the closure: "We know that fans are tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit on secondary websites, so we have taken action," He added, “Closing down our secondary sites and creating a ticket exchange on Ticketmaster has always been our long-term plan. We’re excited to launch our redesigned website, which will make buying and selling tickets fast and simple, with all tickets in the same place.”
Steps have already been put in place toward the closures, with the announcement that from today (Monday 13th August 2018) there will be no new events listed on either GET ME IN! or Seatwave. Ticketmaster has also revealed that in place of the sites there will be a new website launched in October in the UK and Ireland, and across Europe early next year which will act as a fan-to-fan ticket exchange where tickets can be bought and sold for face value.
Ticketmaster is definitely taking an important step in the right direction, leading the way toward a fairer future for the sector and ultimately protecting consumers, however there is still a long way to go to address issues with booking sites which continue to break consumer protection law. This is a subject very much at the forefront of business news and we will investigate the topic further in edition 25 of Global Property Scene – watch this space!