Earlier this week, season tickets went on sale for Tottenham Hotspur. This led to frustration from many fans, when instantly tickets were reappearing on secondary ticketing websites for two times, sometimes three, the value thanks to ticket touts.
I started to explore more on ticket touting, where I came across a website called FanFair Alliance. It was established to unite members of music and creative community because they wanted to take a stand against industrial-scale online ticket touting.
Ok, so it doesn’t cover sports but the points they’re trying to make entirely apply to ticket sales generally. On their website, they have a great FAQs section and within this it talks about ticket touting being illegal in some cases. For example:
- The general re-sale of football tickets in the UK, was banned in 1994.
- In France or Norway the re-selling of live music tickets for profit as breaking the law – yet in UK law it’s isn’t.
- It is illegal to use automated software to bulk-buy tickets for commercial gain, and it is fraudulent to buy tickets using multiple identifies.
It talks about the is a variety of legislation in place that should help protect fans and ensure secondary ticketing websites operate with greater transparency. But unfortunately the legislation has barely been enforced. Their mission is to change that, and I’m 100% on board.
How can we fix the ticket touting issue when it comes to NFL tickets?
I had a chance to speak to Adam Webb from FanFair Alliance about the situation that had unfolded with NFL this week, who shared his thoughts on the fiasco with me.
“Given the NFL has a long-term partnership with StubHub, you’d have to assume the organisation has a fairly ambivalent attitude to secondary ticketing – or, industrial scale ticket touting, if you prefer that terminology.
“On the back of changes to UK consumer laws, many music artists have proved that it is possible to prevent mass-scale exploitation of audiences. However, if you fail to take precautionary measures – or any measures at all – then this is the result: online touts are incentivised to hoover up tickets, fans get ripped off, and the secondary platforms get richer.
“It’s a travesty, but it doesn’t have to be like this.”
What can we do as fans?
We can start by avoiding sites like StubHub, Viagogo, GetMeIn etc, and focus on Twickets which was created to help sell tickets at face value.
I know there are many fans here who bought season tickets, because you didn’t want to miss out at individual game sales. So if you only intend on going to one of the two games and you plan to sell you tickets, please don’t use those listed above – and give priority to a site like Twickets instead.
What could the NFL do?
I appreciate this isn’t an NFL problem, this is a ticketing issue overall, and it’s the law that needs to change.
I thought about whether ID on tickets would be an easy solution – yes, it would ensure that genuine fans had the tickets, but then that opens a whole can of worms with getting in on the day and queues being even bigger. So that just wouldn’t work.
I remember seeing the organiser for Park Life monitor tickets being sold via social media for crazy prices, and because he was sick of fans being ripped off, he took it upon himself to tackle it. He was sourcing it out, pretending to be a buyer and then cancelling their tickets – now that is awesome. So I thought about, what if NFL just cancelled the tickets the touts were putting on at extreme value – but then how much man power does that take? Do they even have the right to do that?
The government needs to start criminalising resales above the combined amount of face value and associated fees– but I think this is still a long time off.
I genuinely hope this is something the NFL can tackle because fans are becoming more and more frustrated. I know the world isn’t perfect and you can’t please everyone – but this? This needs to get better, not get worse.