Despite reassurances from some of the leading resellers, rights-holders remain concerned over the compliance with new legislation on ticketing resale – in particular the requirement to include details of original face value and Unique Ticket Numbers (UTNs).
Lancashire, the English county cricket club, is the first sports business to out resellers who are not complying.
“We’ve already seen listings for tickets to the England v Australia ODI which we host on 24 June appearing on resale sites without complying with the new legislation,” Daniel Gidney, Lancashire CCC CEO told TheStadiumBusiness.com. “Of the big four resellers, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo are listing tickets without UTNs. We’ve not seen any inventory on GetMeIn! but we’ll keep an eye on it.”
Lancashire, based at Emirates Old Trafford, has the most stringent ticketing terms and conditions of any cricket venue.
“The club’s status as a Community and Benefits Society – rather than a commercial entity or registered charity – means all profits are re-invested in the game and as such it is not right for our tickets to be resold at a substantial profit,” said Gidney.
“Our status has allowed us to rewrite the ticketing terms and conditions to clearly prohibit the resale of our inventory. The listings we’ve seen break the law… and it’s all the more galling when some of these secondary sites have been making a big PR play about complying with the new CMA legislation.”
As TheTicketingBusiness reported last month, the UK’s competition watchdog Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) said that StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave have pledged to make it clear whether there is a risk a customer might turned away at the door, which seat in the venue the customer will get, and who is selling the ticket, so that the customer can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business. At the same time the CMA threatened Viagogo with court action if it did not comply with the enhanced consumer legislation.
“I’m not surprised to see tickets on Viagogo – it’s an outfit which appears to play by its own rules. But Seatwave and StubHub have announced they will comply with the new legislation. From what we are seeing that’s simply not true,” Gidney added.
This June’s ODI at Emirates Old Trafford is effectively sold out with just a few restricted view tickets and some premium hospitality packages still directly available from Lancashire.
“We make it clear at the point of purchase that our tickets can never be resold. And we can cancel any tickets which have been obtained from unofficial sources. We’ve done that in the past and we will do so again,” explains Gidney.
Attention will now turn to the CMA if the infringements reported by Lancashire are not isolated incidents.
TheStadiumBusiness contacted Viagogo and Seatwave for a comment but none was received at time of press.
A StubHub spokesperson said: “We have worked closely with the CMA and have agreed to make a number of changes to StubHub.co.uk, which we are currently working on. We have agreed with the CMA that this will be fully completed in the next nine months. All of this was part of the CMA announcement last month.”
Michael Grenfell, the CMA’s executive director for enforcement, said: “All secondary ticketing websites must play by the rules and treat their customers fairly if anything goes wrong. We take failure to comply with consumer protection law very seriously.”
Will Lancashire, CMA or the ECB – cricket’s governing body responsible for the ODI series – take the matter further?
“We’re closely monitoring the situation. When companies say they will comply with the law then we expect them to do so,” said Gidney. “If they don’t then we expect the CMA to take action, prosecute and push for fines. According to the legislation, these can be up to £5,000 per infringement – and it’s the reseller who will have to stump up”.
Screen grabs showing tickets available on StubHub, Seatwave and Viagogo for the England v Australia ODI in Manchester – despite the restriction on resale under the Terms and Conditions of original sales. The listings do not include original Face Value nor the much-publicised UTN (Unique Ticket Number) which is a requirement of the UK’s new resale legislation.