Saturday 22 September 2018

Ticketmaster to close its resale site ahead of clampdown on touts

Tickets for U2’s concerts in Dublin later this year were listed for resale for up to €800. Photo: Getty Images
Tickets for U2’s concerts in Dublin later this year were listed for resale for up to €800. Photo: Getty Images
Noel Rock TD. Picture: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A decision by Ticketmaster to close down its controversial resale site has been hailed as a victory for concert and sports fans.

The company has denied the move is a direct response to Government plans to clampdown on ticket-touting - but Ireland will be the first country where its resale service will shut down.

Ticketmaster has faced repeated criticism for operating the Seatwave site that allows people to resell tickets, often at multiples of their face value.

In a statement, the ticketing agent said the move was part of a "long-term plan" - but Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who has championed legislation in the area, said the timing was "no coincidence".

It was announced last month that the Government would take forward legislation introduced by Mr Rock and Fianna Fáil's Stephen Donnelly which would effectively outlaw ticket touting.

The plan is to ban ticket touting for sporting and entertainment events in designated venues with a capacity of 1,000 or over.

At the time, Ticketmaster declined to comment on the Government's proposal - but yesterday it revealed that Seatwave will close.

"We've listened and we hear you: secondary sites just don't cut it anymore and you're tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit," the company said in a blog post.

There have been numerous examples of tickets for events appearing on the site for resale within hours of events being sold out.

Tickets for U2 concerts in Dublin later this year were being touted for up to €800 despite being originally sold for as little as €40.

Ticketmaster has plans to replace Seatwave with a new site that will allow fan-to-fan ticket exchanges at face value.

In a statement, Keith English, managing director of Ticketmaster Ireland, said: "It's not just in Ireland, it is happening across Europe.

"Our new Ticketmaster ticket exchange lets fans sell tickets they can't use directly through their Ticketmaster account, for the price originally paid or less.

"Selling tickets through Ticketmaster is really simple: we do all the hard work and outline the maximum that can be charged for the ticket - and it doesn't cost fans a penny to sell them."

Mr Rock said it was satisfying to see the demise of Seatwave.

"As recently as May 2017, Ticketmaster described any legislation banning touting as being 'ineffective'," he said.

"Ticketmaster's conversion to my point of view on the scourge of touting is better late than never.

"Stamping out ticket-touting is good news for match-goers, concert-goers and consumer protection in general."

However, the Dublin North West TD warned that the Government must still push ahead with plans to introduce legislation.

He said that unless stronger laws are brought in, there is room for new operations "to spring up again".

The legislation will also prohibit the use of bot software to purchase tickets.

Irish Independent

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