Monday 23 April 2018

Touts make a killing as U2 tickets are now priced in excess of €2k

Tamara Thaise, Sabrini Resende, Luz Pereira, Michelle Franca and Cintia Marcomini from Brazil after they got their U2 Tickets in Stephens Green Shopping center. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Tamara Thaise, Sabrini Resende, Luz Pereira, Michelle Franca and Cintia Marcomini from Brazil after they got their U2 Tickets in Stephens Green Shopping center. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Ian Begley

It took just minutes for the majority of tickets for U2's Croke Park gig in July to be snapped up yesterday.

While this was mainly down to dedicated rock fans, consumer experts said the huge demand was also driven by opportunistic ticket touts.

Martin Shanahan from Cork with his U2 Tickets. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Martin Shanahan from Cork with his U2 Tickets. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Secondary sites are now selling tickets for in excess of €2,000.

One secondary site, Seatwave is managed by Ticketmaster, the official ticket-selling partner for the gig. It was advertising 650 tickets for sale last night.

One pair of tickets for the standing section was being sold at €2,070, including additional charges, which is 13 times above face value.

Dermott Jewell, spokesperson for the Consumers Association of Ireland, told the Irish Independent that unregulated ticket-touting laws leave the consumer in a "very, very bad position".

"Fans are put at a massive disadvantage because of the business structure of ticket-touting," he said.

Read more: U2 announce second dates for London, Rome and France... but not for Dublin

"I believe the simple approach to this problem is regulating the price of these tickets. We should ban people from trying to sell them above 5pc [more than] their face value.

"This would create a massive disincentive for ticket touts who will ultimately lose their appeal to flog tickets because of the lack of profit."

Fans queue up for U2 Tickets at Stephens Green Shopping Center. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Fans queue up for U2 Tickets at Stephens Green Shopping Center. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who has prepared a bill that would ban ticket-touting, criticised Ticketmaster and Seatwave for "enabling the act of ticket-touting".

"It's deeply unfair that real U2 fans are being forced to pay through the nose on secondary selling sites like Seatwave," he said.

"A lot of people on Ticketmaster who failed to get their tickets at face value are being linked directly to Seatwave, which sees the very same tickets up for sale at exorbitant rates.

"Ticket-touting has always existed, but today it's more institutionalised than ever. Hopefully, this bill will be enacted soon because without it this problem isn't going to stop."

Read more: U2 tickets sell for a staggering €900 each

Ex-Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard recently shed some light on the reason why tickets for popular gigs seem to vanish in record time.

In an interview with 'The Ringer', he said: "Pre-sales will always cater for smaller groups like corporate sponsors, radio stations, fan clubs, venue email lists, promoter email lists, and other groups that get a chance at decent seats before the 'general on-sale' happens.

"There are ticket bots and they're specifically designed to be your competition when it comes to purchasing tickets. Algorithms and specifically designed programmes can navigate the purchasing process in a time that's much quicker than you."

In response to the criticism it has received, a spokesperson from Ticketmaster said: "With artists of this stature, demand often far outstrips the supply of tickets. Ticketmaster is committed to the overall ticket-buying process to ensure artists get tickets into the hands of fans and never places tickets on secondary market sites."

Seatwave did not reply at the time of going to press.

Irish Independent

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment