When Tottenham Hotspur announced their three-year partnership with ‘ticketing marketplace’ company StubHub back at the start of the season, it’s probably fair to say there weren’t many of us who gave too much of a monkeys.
Announced on deadline day last summer while we were all too busy getting well and truly Levy-ed, the fact the club were happy to use Jake Livermore’s aesthetics to front news of the deal probably tells you everything you need to know about how newsworthy it felt; low-profile indeed.
Although as the more well researched amongst us have dug-deeper and actually gone to the lengths of bothering to find out what the eBay owned company are all about, far from being another one of those commercial deals that have little or no bearing on we, the supporters, there is a feeling that all that might be about to change.
You may well have seen your Twitter timeline or Spurs forum of choice awash with talk of StubHub and the implications that their ticketing marketplace might have for supporters, the process of buying tickets and how much the already hideously high prices may change.
One name that you may or may not have seen in recent weeks on Twitter is that of ‘No StubHub in THFC’ @SnubHubTHFC and their staunchly anti-StubHub based Tweets. The Hotspur Way thought we’d ask them a few questions and let you judge for yourself the impact that StubHub might have at the club next season.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen a lot of fuss kicked up about StubHub. What actually is it & why are people kicking off about it?
StubHub are a sub-section of eBay and describe themselves as ‘the world’s largest ticket marketplace’. They enable fans to exchange tickets for concerts, festival, sporting events and theatre. Tottenham Hotspur have recently entered into a partnership with StubHub to allow Season Ticket holders to sell their unused tickets, once a match has been sold out through the normal means of ticket sales.
The main uproar surrounding the partnership is that the Season Ticket holders – instead of selling their ticket at face value (or very near, once commission is subtracted) – can set their own price. For example, for North London derbies, they can sell their £50 seat for £200 – ripping off the fans that wish to buy a ticket for this coveted match. In-demand matches such as the North London derby do not enter general sale therefore, this is the only opportunity for fans to purchase tickets. They are forced to pay over the odds.
Who can sell tickets via StubHub? Is this open to anyone with a ticket?
Only Season Ticket holders can sell tickets on StubHub, and only once a game has sold out. However, anyone can buy tickets.
Considering it costs the best part of £50 for the cheapest membership and the basic right to purchase a ticket directly from the club, isn’t StubHub giving more fans the opportunity to see Spurs?
Whilst in theory, for matches that are sold out pre-General Sale, it does give non-members more chances to see Spurs (you had to be a member for Ticket Exchange), those matches are the most in-demand matches. Tickets for a North London derby could be sold for £150. The original ticket could be £50. A Bronze Adult membership is £63. Therefore, it could actually be cheaper to buy a membership and therefore, with your priority, an original ticket. However, this could then result in an inflated number of Bronze/Lilywhite members, such that the ticket priority is less of a priority and more of a free-for-all. It is certainly a more dangerous system that the old, used and loved Ticket Exchange.
Surely Season Ticket holders are the least likely to want to sell their tickets though?
When non-Season Ticket holders purchase tickets for a match, they are purchasing tickets for a precise date and time. When Season Ticket holders are purchasing tickets for the whole season, they do not yet know the dates and times of at least 32 of the 38 matches. Therefore, there is more scope for them to discover that they cannot attend a match.
Although in theory the Season Ticket holder would be more committed, there are many reasons why they may not be able to attend a certain match. Family issues, work issues, a holiday, an illness. The old system gave them the opportunity to sell their ticket at face value. Fair for them, who recoup most of the ticket value, and fair the fan, who pays face value for the ticket. Under StubHub, they can set the price. The Season Ticket holder can gain money from the ticket resale, when they had previously made a commitment to attend every game (through the initial purchase of the Season Ticket), and the fan has to pay more than face value.
What’s the worst case scenario that could come out of the club’s agreement with StubHub?
There are a few key damaging situations that could result from the agreement. Away fans could buy a home ticket at White Hart Lane, thus denying loyal fans the chance for a ticket; and as mentioned, there is potential to pay threefold (or more) the face value price for an in-demand ticket. The final issue is that a Season Ticket holder – for whatever reason – may decide to sell a lot of the matches on his Season Ticket. He could well end up making £2,000 from his £1,000 Season Ticket. Although StubHub say they have checks in place to stop this, those checks are not foolproof.
Sounds like legitimised ticket touting to me – what can I do to protest the club’s association with StubHub?
‘No StubHub in THFC’ (@SnubHubTHFC) is a Twitter account committed to forcing the termination of the Tottenham Hotspur/StubHub partnership. By following this account, you are expressing your support for this cause.
We are looking to bring about concessions from the club and StubHub; the first of these will be an upper limit for the price of ticket sales on StubHub.
As popularity grows, @SnubHubTHFC will organise events and protests to make our viewpoint clear to Tottenham Hotspur. We are also looking to work with Stand Against Modern Football @standamf and Spurs Youth Supporters @OurClubsFuture to convey our views on a national scale. Finally, we will be looking to produce and sell merchandise – banners, flags, leaflets – to spread our message.
While we will let you make your own assumptions on StubHub and its implications, The Hotspur Way takes a very dim view indeed on the hypocrisy of the whole thing – just because they’re not wearing a flat cap and a fake Stone Island, don’t think these boys aren’t touts.
End this ruthless enterprise that is exploiting the ordinary and loyal fan. #SayNoToStubHub.
Many thanks to @SnubHubTHFC who you can follow by clicking the link.
You can also follow me on Twitter too @samuel_antrobus