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Tottenham fans object to the way tickets are sold

If you are a season ticket holder at Arsenal, and you can’t get to a game, you can try and sell your ticket on Arsenal’s Ticket Exchange which is owned an operated by Arsenal.

It is not perfect, and as I found when trying to sell my ticket for Arsenal v Tottenham in the FA Cup, it is possible to have a ticket that no one wants to buy.  But it stops tickets being sold at higher than list prices and it keeps the whole process within the ambit of Arsenal FC.

Tottenham is different.  They don’t have their own ticket exchange, but instead they sub-contract the arrangement to StubHub, and this is causing some Tottenham fans some grief.

Now of course as an Arsenal season ticket holder writing about Tottenham I am likely to get something wrong here – although I do try and do my research.  If something that follows is not wrong, it is not because I am having a dig at Tottenham, but simply because my research and enquiries have led me down the wrong path.

StubHub is part of Ebay, and is the world’s largest ticket market.  In essence someone who wants tickets goes to StubHub to find someone selling tickets.  StubHub charges 10% of the purchase price to buyers plus a delivery charge for the tickets, plus some other bits, thus getting around one fifth of the price of each ticket sold.

Tickets sold this way tend to be more expensive than face value and people selling tend to get less than the amount they paid.

But there is nothing in StubHub regs from stopping sellers listing a ticket at a much higher amount than its face value and Wiki reports stories of Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto with tickets listed for $52,122 – almost 1000 times the face value.

In essence this is what us older folk call ticket touting, and which the Americans call ticket scalping.  12 states in the US have regulations controlling scalping, including rules on how much can be charged.

Following concerns at the way StubHub is working with Tottenham the TH Supporters’ Trust have been fighting the use of StubHub by the club.  They have recently received information from the club with regards to how StubHub worked for the first six games of the current season.

Now one thing to consider here is that these opening games may not be typical of the whole season, and indeed although I miss very few matches at Arsenal I have on occasion missed one in August because I am on a holiday trip.   But that’s a detail. 

The Tottenham supporters make it clear that their view is that “the StubHub resale platform is pushing up the price of tickets to watch Tottenham Hotspur.

“The evidence provided shows that 91% of tickets are being sold above face value. At the two category A games included in the data, Chelsea and West Ham, tickets were sold at an average price of 135% and 53% above face value respectively.

Ticket prices for category A games at Tottenham range from £48 to £81 (excluding discounts for juniors and senior citizens – and I will reiterate here my comments made before, that I really think Arsenal should follow the lead of Tottenham and every other club in the Premier League in allowing seniors to have a discount without having to change their seats).

Arsenal’s prices are of course quite a lot higher, but Arsenal divide up their areas of the stadium in different ways which means that some sections of the ground are cheaper at the Ems – but overall Arsenal prices are higher.

Back to Tottenham’s supporters…

Tottenham supporters’ groups in the joint statement add that,

‘In support of the campaign against licensed ticket touts, the Football Supporters’ Federation said: “Fans already find ticket prices more than demanding enough. The introduction of an additional level of profiteering at our expense can only serve to price more fans out of the game, and must be resisted”.

‘We, therefore, call on THFC to end the partnership with StubHub at the earliest opportunity and, instead, to work with supporter groups, the FA and Premier League in their efforts to establish a genuine ticket exchange scheme that does not drive up prices or incentivise fans to exploit fellow fans.’

It is quite a strong statement, and makes the occasional attempts by Arsenal fans to get a discount for season ticket holding seniors in their own seats rather mild.

For myself, although Ticket Exchange failed to sell my ticket for Arsenal v Tottenham in the FA Cup, I think I’d still prefer Ticket Exchange to Ebay’s money making scheme.   Indeed it seems to me bizarre that StubHub is legal in the UK, when ticket touting is not.

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21 comments to Tottenham fans object to the way tickets are sold

  • ALilywhite

    Well it must be a cold day in hell because I find myself agreeing with you lol In seriousness your information is pretty good. We too up until this season also operated a ticket exchange similar to yours but now Stubhub is in, some prices I have seen on there are scandalous. Another problem is you get season ticket holders simply selling all their tickets each week and making profit at the expense of their fellow fans which is particularly sad. We really want stubhub stopped and if it isnt who knows all other teams in the EPL could decide to use it…. including yours.

  • shedzy

    ……maybe they should stop throwing their loose change on the pitch at The Emirates then…….

  • ian

    I think Newcastle United run a similar scheme, one of my friends said that last season he put his 3 season tickets up for sale for one of the European games and got over twice face value.

    No doubt some commenters will advise if you have got anything incorrect, but it does seem like a form of touting. The fact that seemingly you could sell your ticket to anyone goes against the findings of the Taylor report that followed the Hillsborough tragedy.

    I always thought the the reason behind membership schemes and all seated stadia was so that those that are not behaving correctly can be identified not only by CCTV but by who the seat was sold too.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Do people actually pay to watch them ?

  • jod

    In the case of Spurs anything like this will inevitably push up the price of tickets as the ground is far too small, demand greatly exceeds supply. The clue is probably in the 20,000+ on the waiting list for season tickets. With a club where supply and demand are more in balance it would probably only be a problem for the really big games.

  • Bill

    The club re issue a paper ticket to the buyer through stubhub so that the person in the seat is known. Saves having to ‘loan’ access cards which have loyalty points and possibly other matches booked on them. The seller then has their money paid and no responsibility for the behaviour of the individual. The club states the stadium rules to the buyer thus getting round the Taylor report issue.

  • Sammy The Snake

    I wouldn’t go to Spurs even if they paid me.

  • Oliver

    The ticket exchange is great for me, I get almost all my tickets on it. Probably not great if you want to sit with a mate, it’s quite rare to see a pair of tickets. Best hitting @arsenal_tickets for that.

  • bc

    Also there is the New ticket transfer scheme. Which is great and imo better than ticket exchange. You simply transfer the ticket to someone else. They print off a paper ticket and can sell it or pass it on meaning u don’t have all the hassle of passing your card about. Cost £1.

  • Amerigooner

    I only WISH that the Arsenal used StubHub for their ticket exchange scheme. As a US-based Red Member, I was trying to get tickets for my three family members (also Red Members) and I. We had a unique opportunity for a family holiday to London since my daughter was on break from University. Unfortunately the tickets were sold out and none available on the Exchange. No game and no long weekend in London for us!

    I would have been willing to pay 2X or even 3X face value of the ticket for the too-rare chance to see my beloved Arsenal live. Had Arsenal been using StubHub, perhaps some current ticket holder would have been enticed by the chance to earn a bit of a wedge £££££ and I would have been thrilled to be able to be at the game.

    The thing about these anti-touting/scalping and other price fixing laws is that they interfere with the workings of a free market. Had Arsenal been using StubHub, some Gooner could have earned a few quid and my family and I would have been so excited to do it. Free markets beat price controls every time.

    So I respectfully disagree with the Spud supporters. This may be the ONLY thing in the universe that the Tiny Totts do better than the Mighty Arsenal!!! 😉

  • Pete

    I thought selling football tickets above face was illegal? What am I missing here?

    Due to family commitments, I have successfully sold my ticket on TX for Palace and Coventry. Very pleasantly surprised! Extraordinary they sold out when you think about it.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Amerigooner, the only way as a red member to be reasonably certain of getting tickets is to be on the ticket sales section of the official site at the time the sale opens for that game. You might even have to be 15 or 20 min early. A group 3 game you will almost certainly be able to get four tickets in a row, a group 2 game will probably be OK. I have sometimes managed to get three for Liverpool but never for Spurs or Chelsea. I hope you have more success the next time you are able to manage a visit.

  • menace

    Whilst we have some Spuds fans here, can you give your view on Anelka’s gesture.
    I am quite stunned that in this day and age such a huge amount is made of gestures like the one Jack made. I appreciate that there are some PC pratts running part of the game while 7 bells are being knocked off players in the park (Agbonlahor’s elbow on Rosicky) with no challenge or inquisition.

  • menace

    @Amerigooner I’m sure if you wrote/email Arsenal before you come to UK, the club would make a special effort to get you tickets. It is common practice for the club to assist overseas fans with match tickets as the club values you highly.

  • TommieGun

    @ Menace – why do you care what is the Spud fan reaction to Anelka’s gesture?

  • Amerigooner

    If only you were right, menace! I emailed the box office and they basically told me I was out of luck.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    @menance… Please let me know the id where to mail so that I can get the tickets in my next trip..

  • menace

    @TommieGun it’s just another view. I am currently in India and I get a lot of media reaction to incidents in the news, I watch the Arsenal games live on TV as my season ticket is being used by a gooner friend. I see some incidents and then read the reports – media here seem to echo UK media. No mention of the blatant nose breaking elbow by Agbonlahor. Lots of Man U tears.

    The Swastika is a good luck Hindu/Aryan symbol. It was used by the Nazi SS; it obviously does not work for evil. We have a 300 year old family heirloom of jewellery with the swastika. Sadly, it is not used often in UK as it might cause offence.

  • menace

    @Abhishek initially try arsenal@info.arsenal.co.uk
    they will route you to the correct place.

  • Gooner S

    This is an appaling treatment of the fan-base. I hope the Spurs fans are successful.

    Sadly this is not new and for anybody that goes to gigs frequently this is a situation often encountered. It is sad that football is going this way with a secondary or ‘sell-on’ markets for tickets.

    @AmericanGooner

    Trust an American based supporter to come up with the ‘free trade’ argument 🙂 If you have no objection to ‘scalpers’ then you could have just popped along to the Emirates on matchday and somebody will have gladly sold you those tickets ….for a price. It doesn’t make it right! Or legal.

  • Amerigooner

    Maybe I could’ve gotten tics outside the stadium, but I wasn’t about to fly across the pond for the Fulham game with my wife and two kids in tow, without having the tickets for a certainty!