Supporters often say there is no loyalty left in football when it comes to players, but with some Villa fans appearing to sell tickets for the upcoming Second City derby to fellow Villans for up to £600, is there any loyalty actually left amongst each other?
The issue of secondary sales ticket agencies has never been much of an issue at Aston Villa, mainly because it’s not often Villa Park is sold out.
Normally, the club’s ticket exchange allows season ticket holders to offer their unwanted tickets for face value or less prices to give other Villa fans a potential bargain. Yet seeing tickets for the Blues game up for sale on the club’s official ticket exchange – ran by Seatwave – for up to £600, raises serious question marks.
The Big Profit
Factor in the £109.99 booking fee and the supporter ends up paying in excess of £700, with the club and Seatwave making more each on just the booking fee than the original ticket price.
The resale of football tickets is illegal under section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 unless authorised by the organiser of the match. That’s why the likes of Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo were originally fast to strike deals with football clubs.
The irony is if you sell a spare ticket to your friend for face value, you are breaking the law. But if Seatwave sell your spare ticket for a massive mark-up, that’s perfectly legal and ok.
There’s obviously a degree of hypocrisy from football clubs who strived to extinguish touts from the game under the pretext of protecting supporters from being ripped off.
Also, the reality is, instead of being motivated by improving ‘customer service’ providing fans with a service to help them sell unused tickets, greed for commission was the prime motivating force.
How They Get You
With most of the population conditioned to think in capitalist terms, the argument of ‘demand and supply’ is often thrown up in such matters. If someone is willing to pay it, then what’s the issue?
Well, apart from the fabric of society disintegrating through selfishness (or in this case, Villa supporter kinship waning), it’s essentially legalised touting. The whole business model is built on the agencies’ commission (aka booking fee). It’s in the interest of the agency for the prices to be as high as possible. If Villa Park was sold out, week in and week out, the exploitation of fans through agencies would only grow.
In the music world, such agencies (some run by ticket sellers) often block book tickets for concerts to drive up demand and prices, and then they sell these tickets on for maximum profit.
Likewise, it’s not necessarily season ticket owners that are asking for these prices on ticket exchanges, but professional ticket touts or the agencies themselves. For example, there’s normally whole blocks of match tickets listed for each Villa game on Seatwave, meaning the agency has obviously been given them to sell by the club.
Would this arrangement continue, if Villa Park started to fill up? If it did, the ticket exchange agency would then obviously boost up the price of it’s given allocation.
It’s a mirky subject that has seen German supporters chase such agencies away from their clubs and in England the likes of Spurs, Manchester City and Everton fans challenging their clubs over the role of such ticketing agencies in recent years.
Once success returns to Villa Park and the stadium fill rate grows, the issue may become a growing concern.
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