Stop Stubhub: A Fans’ Petition

This morning Tottenham On My Mind is proud to join fellow Spurs writers and the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust in publishing a statement condemning the club’s deal with Stubhub as not being in the best interests of supporters. We invite fellow fans to sign the petition opposing the reselling of tickets on the Stubhub site.

Last spring I was one of the first bloggers to criticise the arrangement which has drawn widespread complaints and damages the reputation of the club we all support. With a growing backlash against high prices in the Premier League, it is unacceptable that the club condones the reselling of tickets at an exorbitant premium.

Yesterday morning, there were 226 tickets available for the sold-out game against Chelsea this Saturday. One pair was on sale for £1265. There were 82 tickets each costing over £200, ranging from £200 to over £500, including one junior ticket for nearly £400, about 15 times its face value.

It’s plain wrong. We want Spurs supporters opposed to this state of affairs to sign the petition to demonstrate the strength of feeling about the scheme. We understand the club are tied into a two year contract, which of course we cannot change, so our aim is to establish a dialogue with the club and work together to create a fairer scheme to replace Stubhub when the contract finishes. Therefore there is a realistic, specific purpose and goal to this petition, as part of a campaign that will run throughout the season and beyond. With your help we can make a real difference.

Stop Stubhub – sign the petition here

We are Tottenham Hotspur supporters who believe the club’s deal with StubHub is not in the best interests of fans buying or selling tickets, and has serious implications for football supporters in general.

 

With a growing backlash against ticket pricing at the top level of the English game, a deal which best serves the interests of those wishing to make a profit from their fellow fans damages the reputation of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC).

 

The way StubHub works is intrinsically against the best interests of supporters. The absence of restrictions on pricing has led, in some cases, to tickets being listed at up to 1,000% of face value. The average list price for a ticket on StubHub vastly outweighs the ticket’s face value. THFC and StubHub actively encourage supporters to list tickets at high prices, emphasising the seller’s freedom to determine a ticket’s list price is a benefit in publicity for the service.

 

We would like to have seen an upper pricing limit introduced, in line with MP Sharon Hodgson’s attempt to introduce legislation in Parliament to restrict the resale of tickets to 10% above face value. THFC has an ideal opportunity to set an example by aligning itself with this initiative, therefore gaining respect and goodwill.

 

We note that secondary ticket agencies have been described as “legalised touts” by Malcolm Clarke, the chair of the Football Supporters Federation. Furthermore, we note that the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust has called for tickets to be sold at face value.

 

After the Swansea game, the first game for which tickets had changed hands via StubHub, we received reports of supporters having to wait for over an hour at the StubHub pick-up point, with some missing up to 35 minutes of the first half because they were still waiting to be handed their tickets.

 

We have concerns about the effect this deal has on the value of existing membership schemes because of the number of tickets that will be made available to members. We also have concerns about a number of security issues.

 

We believe the club’s deal with StubHub should be terminated at the earliest possible opportunity. It should be replaced with a scheme in which the club buys back and sells tickets at face value, possibly through an existing ethical ticket exchange. We would also like to see resale to existing club members prioritised.

 

We would like to see THFC work with fans’ organisations and other clubs to create an ethical, fair and safe secondary ticketing system, possibly looking to shape legislation to regulate the market.

 

This deal was agreed without consulting the supporters it directly affects, and has been implemented without their consent. Such actions undermine the efforts of everyone trying to build a constructive dialogue between the club and its fans. We therefore ask that, in future, proper consultation – which means more than informing fans after the event – takes place over any measure that directly affects fans.

 

Total Tottenham website

The Fighting Cock website

Dear Mr Levy website

Alan Fisher – Tottenham on my Mind

TottenhamBlog

Mel Gomes @ The Substantive website

Spurstalk website

Chris Miller – WindyCOYS.com 

Martin Cloake, author and fan

Supported by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust

 Sign here: www.change.org/stopstubhub

Background: if you’re not familiar with the way this all works, until the end of last season, ticket holders unable to attend a sold-out game could resell them through the club’s ticket exchange. Spurs deducted commission, the rest went to the ticket-holder. There are two key differences between this scheme and Stubhub:

  • the tickets were sold on at face value. On Stubhub, sellers can not only charge what they like, the freedom to do so is encouraged as a benefit of the service
  • the tickets were available only to Spurs members. On Stubhub, anyone can buy them, including away fans. This also reduces the value of being a member.

This opens up the possibility of away fans in home sections and of tickets being bought purely to sell on at a profit, as we regularly see on reselling sites for sold-out concerts.

The feeling is inescapable: Stubhub see Spurs as easy pickings. In the eyes of the supporters, we have a rich, vibrant heritage, a fine team and loyal fans with a deep attachment to our home ground. All Stubhub see is profit. Small ground, supporters desperate to see their team: high demand and limited supply, it’s ripe for exploitation.

We have links with supporters of other Premier League clubs opposed to similar deals and the Football Supporters Federation

I’ll keep you posted re progress. Follow the campaign on Twitter #StopStubhub

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to your support.

Regards, Alan

 

18 thoughts on “Stop Stubhub: A Fans’ Petition

  1. Just last week i was in contact with spurs on this exact subject, and the club was trying to justify their partnership with stubhub. I am so pleased that people are now starting a petition to stop fans trying to make profits.
    well done.

    Like

  2. I dont think the stubhub tool is bad. But the model is. A fan should be able to pass on his ticket if he cant go to a match. Two (or more) fans should be able to jointly purchase a ticket and share it for the season. Further to this you cant stop people wanting to make a quid or two if the opportunity arises so better to have some control than none.

    The StubHub model however does not support any of this. What it actually does is legitimises touting, whilst at the same time a season ticket holder still cant just give his ticket to his brother if he cant go to a match as this is against the terms of the season ticket (I have read elsewhere).

    The Club need to put the fans first and then place a financial model around that. Done right, everyone would then be supported. Most of all the true fans and lifeblood of the club would have the best access to tickets.

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  3. Hi Alan

    I am only commenting on your site above any other as it was the first in my list of reading earlier and the window I left open. This is in no way aimed at you, or any of the other sites / blogs / individuals involved here in a personal level.

    So, as anyone who has ever paid even a passing interest in me will know, I have been fighting the “secondary” ticket market for as long as I have been going to gigs and football (although to be fair, it has only been a major issue in football recently). From the days of refusing to buy from a tout at face value or above (usually worked) to the early days of ebay and setting up fake accounts to bid far too high on tickets for sale and then close my account once the auction ended meaning the seller had nothing but the ticket in their hand. None of what I did probably had a major impact, but we all did our bit back then.
    This is purely for context as I head in to “Be Careful What You Wish For”

    Over the last couple of decades, oddly the same sort of time period as the Premier League, a little hippy music festival has become very popular. Glastonbury, (now known as #Glasto), never used to come close to selling out, and you were pretty much allowed in for free for years if you wanted to go that badly. Then TV got involved, it was live, people sat in their lounges and enjoyed it. This naturally increased demand for people to go, and the capacity of the festival is now in the 100s of 1000s over the weekend.

    This made for a very lucrative market in re-selling tickets. 100% markup was standard, a £1000 a ticket was common, and people paid it.

    There was a backlash.

    Now to even stand a chance of entry you need to go through passport style application process, with photos. And if you get a ticket it has your photo on it. And to get in you need that, photo ID and bills with the address on. They have all but eradicated the tout, exactly what everyone called for.

    However, when someone is ill, can’t make it, moved, died, gone deaf, whatever the reason they can’t go that ticket becomes worthless. You can’t pass it to anyone unless they have a pretty damn close resemblance to you.

    Extrapolate this to a lot of gigs now, you have to have the credit card you bought the tickets with to pick tickets up, and more are going down the photo route.

    The old ticket exhange was flawed against ST holders, the new process is flawed against those wanting to buy. Giving away your ticket is already against the rules (for a story far too long to go into here I suffered issues here at the Swansea game). The naive thought that fans would not make a profit was just that, naive. This is capitalism in its pure form, supply and demand with limited supply. Sure enough some clubs can’t sell out a local derby, but prices for tickets are now being clearly seen for one game that is the cost of the ticket for the season.
    As many say, don’t blame the player, blame the game – but what would you do if you were ENIC?

    Photo ID. Fingerprint admission. Retina scans.
    No match, no admission. Control the resales on the same basis, at a mark up. Even an enhanced mark up, such as on a secondary site….

    Sounds futuristic doesn’t it, but if a bunch of hippies have done it, you can bet your bottom dollar this is being looked at.

    To be 100% clear, I am 100% against even the existence of Stubhub, let alone their connection to Spurs, but as above, be careful what you wish for.

    This is looking like a glory period for the club.
    The days of paying £6 on the day at the turnstile to see the UEFA Cup Final are long gone, but I fear the days of lending a ticket will soon also be history.

    Apologies if this causes any form of argument on your wonderful blog.

    Simon

    Like

    • Hi Simon, That’s interesting and a thought that has occurred to me too. That’s why we made the call for proper consultation on ticketing systems with fans. As with this scheme, so too with the loyalty points fiasco – both times consultation with fans could have led to a system supported more widely, and one that takes account of the real world. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the club tried to introduce what you mention – in fact, if I remember correctly there was some talk of a retina scan system being examined a few years ago. If they do, we will have to organise against that as well.

      There’s a simple and straightforward way to address all of these problems, and that’s for our club – in fact all football clubs – to properly consult and work with their fans on issues such as this, rather than continue to argue that consultation means having conversations about decisions that have already been taken. As with most things in life, people or organisations do what people allow them to get away with, which is why we need to organise and make our case.

      Be interesting to hear more of your experiences in the music field – if you’ll excuse the pun.

      Like

    • Simon, I respect your views more than you realise. It’s a shame that in so much social media, disagreement is seen as personal and antagonistic, but on Tottenham On My Mind, it’s seen as what it is, debate. You are always most welcome.

      The potential issue of ID cards/scans by stealth and the club perhaps taking the opportunity to be even more rigid about tickets came up in discussion amongst the group and it’s mentioned in some of the blogs that have covered the topic – I reckon Martin Cloake brought it up a while back, link to his blog on my sidebar.

      If it comes up in future discussions with the club (I’m basically an optimistic soul), we will oppose it. It’s not included here because we wanted to focus on the current problem and to be fair to THFC, we have no evidence whatsoever to suggest they are. Other issues with the club have also been omitted for the same reason.

      I’m in this because the system is foul, and also because there could be a workable solution. I don’t see why a system similar to the ticket exchange cannot be reinstated so that prices are not sky-high and tickets go to members, people who invested emotion and money in the club over the years. Whatever that is, I would like to prove to the club that solutions to all sorts of issues relating to the relationship between the club and the fans can best be addressed through consultation, a process re-started by the recently reinvigourated Trust.

      We’ll see. Worth a try. Great work with the ebay scam by the way.

      Kind regards, Al

      Like

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  6. As a former season ticket holder that has emigrated to Australia, personally I can see the benefits of stubhub. On my all too infrequent visits back home (I never come back in Summer, 25 hours flight and no games to see??? I don’t think so!) my chief priority has always been to get as many games in as I can. In the past Ive bought tickets through agencies over the net (at a large premium, 85 quid for Blackburn away midweek FFS), always wondering if I’ve given my money away and no ticket will be forthcoming.

    At least with stubhub I know that I’ll get a ticket – regardless of price. I appreciate there are other fans that perhaps my willingness to pay over the odds may penalise, but if you’d flown all that distance, wouldn’t you be prepared to pay whatever it took?

    If stubhub is to be replaced, some provision for the occassional supporter would be appreciated.

    Like

    • The occaisonal supporter, whether they live down the road or 12000 miles away, has been driven away from many Premier League grounds. the new stadium will change that radically.

      Regards, Al

      Like

  7. Alan,
    Per usual fantastic blog and spot on about the many tangled issues of Stub Hub. One question, as a rabid spurs support who is not in the UK, I am located in upstate NY, one of my goals for this year is to come over for a game in April. I have tentatively target the Fulham game as it works best for my schedule, vacation etc. As the rules exist currently I suspect I will have to resort to stub hub to acquire tickets. My question is did the old system offer an avenue for me to procure tickets directly from the club or would I have had to get them through a ticket broker, directly from a season ticket holder etc. Were there restrictions placed on ticket holders to limit direct sales, giving tickets to friends and not accompanying them to the game and what not. Sorry if this seems a bit of a rudimentary question, but in order to understand the current outrage at stub hub(which I personally share) my knowledge of the previous system is limited. In the states for example if a friend whats to go to an NFL game and I give him my tickets or even sell them personally there is not restriction to entry, ie no need for id or credit card etc.
    Curious how things differ at the Lane if at all.
    thanks again for your wonderful insight.
    COYS
    Ed

    Like

    • Sorry for the delay in replying, Ed.

      Basically, under the old system tickets should have only been available through the club, either in the first sale or to members through the old ticket exchange that came into operation for all sold-out games. This is tough for the occasional fan – see my comment above – but is the fairest possible system.

      In the last couple of years, tickets did appear via corporate deals as part of a hospitality package but I don’t know the details. Season tickets or other tickets come to that cannot be given to anyone else to use according to the terms and conditions and certainly cannot be sold through any means other than Stubhub now or the ticket exchange in the past. In reality season tickets are shared between people because 99.9% of the time there are no other checks of identity. Also, some tickets appeared on the reselling sites but again this breaks all the terms and conditions.

      One of things that annoys many of us in the campaign is that Spurs introduced the ticket exchange as a means of regulating the resale market – they even used the slogan ‘out the tout’. Now, the Stubhub deal actively encourages people to sell the ticket to the highest bidder – see the comment below. Remember there are no checks whatsoever on where a Stubhub ticket goes.

      Any more info required, let me know.

      Regards, Al

      Like

      • Alan,
        Thanks for your response.
        I think that the reality of this situation is that with limited seats available at the Lane, and hopefully with a successful campaign in the league, cups and Europe it will continue to drive the asking prices on StubHub up. Obviously for the occasional interloper, such as myself, it offers a method to procure tickets. Unfortunately with any system like StubHub there will be instances of fraudulent tickets, people paying and not getting tickets or getting fake tickets, it is inevitable. Check the online reviews.
        Alan, I sincerely hope that your Stop campaign with gather traction and that someone will actually listen, good luck
        Ed

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  8. Get of ya high horse! nothing wrong with Stub Hub! Sold my Chelsea tickets for 260 each if some mug wants to pay for it happy days! Paid for my son’s season ticket and for our away tickets which are much more fun these days. You don’t speak for everyone so stop trying to stop it!!!

    Like

    • You can do what you want with your tickets, there’s nothing in my blog or the Stop Stubhub statement having a go at individuals, although I would use the term ‘fellow Spurs fan’ in preference to ‘mug’. The campaign is addressed primarily at the club for creating a situation where anyone through official channels pays that much for a ticket and for creating the absurd situation where people have to sell tickets in order to pay for a season ticket.

      Regards, Al

      Like

      • You need to keep it in context….it’s only 226 tickets out of 36,000….less than 1%. For a big game like Chelsea it gives ST holders the chance to recoup some money if they wish too. A lot of us spend a fortune following Spurs home and away. The buyers of these tickets are most likely corporate/tourists or rich Chelsea fans who don’t even realise there’s a home and away section!

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