Viagogo snubs Parliamentary hearing

Viagogo has been criticised by MPs after failing to appear at today’s Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee hearing into abuse of the secondary ticketing market.

The Switzerland-based resale firm, which has an office in London, was sent an advance request to provide an executive to appear before the committee at the Houses of Parliament.

However, while See Tickets chief executive Rob Wilmshurst appeared to face questions, Committee chair Damian Collins MP said Viagogo told MPs by email on Monday night that it would not be represented.

It is rare for companies not to adhere to requests to appear before Parliamentary Committees, with prominent executives such as Rupert Murdoch, Philip Green and Mike Ashley just some of those to face a grilling from MPs in recent years. It has been proposed by some that it should become a criminal offence to decline attendance at a Committee hearing.

Chair Collins said it was a “considerable disappointment that Viagogo have decided not to send a representative despite the fact that they have a substantial office on Cannon Street [in central London]”.

View the CMS Committee hearing into ticket abuse here

He added: “Given that other companies that operate in the primary and secondary ticketing space, such as Live Nation and eBay, have given evidence to the committee, it’s a considerable disappointment that Viagogo don’t feel they have any oral evidence that they can contribute.

“There has been substantial movement and progress made since the Committee session last year, but it seems Viagogo feel they have nothing to add to the evidence that has been collected so far.

“If we are to see progress made it’s important that we see companies comply. If companies flout UK law they should see their trade restricted.”

The Committee is also today expected to hear from Keith Kenny, sales and ticketing director for ‘Hamilton’, Cameron Macintosh, as well as Ed Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp and music tour promoter Stuart Galbraith. Claire Turnham, a representative from the ‘Victims of Viagogo’ group and Mark McGivern, a journalist for the Daily Record newspaper, will be questioned by MPs in the afternoon.

The hearing comes a day after FanFair Alliance, which is supported by Camp and Sheeran, issued a ticket-buying guide urging music fans to avoid Viagogo and other secondary sites.

Nigel Adams MP, a prominent opponent of the secondary ticketing market, was unimpressed by Viagogo’s absence. He tweeted: “Huge lack of respect by @viagogo by not showing for @CommonsCMS ticket inquiry.”