As it was announced earlier this week, the Second City derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City is a 42,000 sell out. Not even Sky screening it and the midday Sunday kick-off has put fans off, nor the woeful corresponding game that was on display last season at Villa Park.
With Villa aiming for the automatic promotion places and the Blues battling to get out of the relegation zone, there should be extra incentive for both teams. Hopefully, it will lift the standard of the contest considering the extra policing arrangements that the fixture entails.
One issue the fixture does drag up though is that of secondary ticketing.
Last season there were tickets listed for up to £600 on the club’s secondary ticketing partner Seatwave’s site (the club informed MOMS that these were removed).
When MOMS last checked Seatwave there was only a few tickets left for next month’s derby, with the highest price at £145 for a ticket in the Holte.
Whether supporters are shysters for making money off fellow fans, or simply taking advantage of demand and supply is one question. The main issue is the hypocrisy at play, as football clubs angle themselves to make even more money on already expensive matchday tickets.
In the days of touting, the powers that be pushed forward the mantra that it was illegal because touts was ripping off fans. Those evil and horrible football touts.
Now, it seems, as long as football clubs are getting a cut of the action (with secondary agents also paying the club upfront for sponsorship) through commission fees, ripping off fans is perfectly fine.
For example, if a fan was foolish enough to part with £600 for a ticket for the second city derby, like those which had been advertised last season, there was an additional hidden booking fee of £109.99.
While most club’s commercial departments will welcome a secondary ticket sponsor for the upfront cash it brings them, it’s good to see some club’s taking a more ethical approach.
For example, in the Premier League (with teams buoyed by TV rights money), Crystal Palace is working with Twickets, a company that caps the maximum resell price at face value.
With the Upper Trinity closed, Villa don’t really have an issue at the moment in terms of sold out games providing an opportunity for a huge mark-up on tickets, but if they are promoted to the Premier League and start to enjoy an upturn in fortunes with regular sell outs, then the dynamic of secondary ticket sales will change for Villans.
Times do change.
MOMS remembers paying on the door on the night at Highbury to get into the home end for Villa’s League Cup semi-final vs Arsenal in 1996. Fast-forward to the present day at the Emirates, and there’s a hefty waiting list for season tickets and getting into any league game on the day is a mission impossible.
Anyway,it’s something to consider in the future, in the meantime, three points from the game in February is the main concern.