Everton has been urged to terminate its partnership with StubHub by a fans’ group claiming supporters are being exploited on the platform.
The Everton Supporters Trust issued the warning to the Premier League football club arguing that its secondary ticketing partner is undermining its progressive ticketing policy, UK newspaper the Guardian reports.
Everton has received extensive praise for its positive pricing steps that froze season ticket prices and in some cases, reduced the cost for the 2017-18 campaign. Following consultations with Everton’s Fans’ Forum and Junior Fans’ Forum the club has introduced a new, young adult season ticket for next season costing £380 for those aged 22-24 while its kids’ season ticket costs £95, the equivalent of £5 per game.
In an open letter to the club, the Everton Supporters Trust criticised the partnership with StubHub, citing an example of a £45 ticket for the upcoming game against Burnley at Goodison Park being advertised for £125.
The Trust’s letter reads: “This relationship has led to a situation where on one hand the club boasts of its progressive ticket pricing policy and on the other uses its website and social media presence to encourage fans to use a website in which tickets are advertised at many times more than the face value.
“For example: a ticket with a face value of £40 for Everton’s last home game against Hull City was advertised on StubHub for £108. On 15 April, Everton play Burnley, a fixture that is already sold out. However, the club is directing Evertonians to StubHub where tickets with a face value of £45 are being advertised for £125 rising to £149 once ‘service fees’ are factored in. Earlier in the season, Everton Supporters Trust made Everton FC aware of various junior tickets for the home matches against Manchester United and Liverpool being listed for as high as £90.
“To make matters worse the club actively encourages season ticket holders to advertise their tickets via StubHub and in doing so provides no guidance on what a season ticket holder should charge for their ticket. Everton Supporters Trust 1878 believes this situation leaves Everton FC open to the accusation it is complicit in the exploitation of its supporters and that the partnership with StubHub is incompatible with the club’s otherwise progressive ticket pricing policy.”
Ticket prices on StubHub are set at the seller’s discretion, not the club’s, with a limit of £250 for matches at Goodison. However, tickets can also be cheaper on StubHub, for example there are £12 and £15 tickets available for Everton’s next home game against Leicester City.
The open letter calls on Everton “to bring to an end its partnership with StubHub and replace it with an in-house service”, following Chelsea’s decision to end its deal with Viagogo. It suggests an alternative partnership could be signed with “an ethical secondary sales platform that does not allow tickets to be sold for more than their face value, such as Twickets”.
It added: “We also call on Evertonians who might consider using StubHub for whatever time remains of the club’s partnership with the company to respect their fellow Evertonians and only sell their tickets for the face value”.
Everton played a leading role in the Premier League’s pricing policy for away fans, which capped away tickets at £30 per game and no season ticket holder at Goodison will pay more than £30 per game next season, with the highest-priced adult season ticket costing £565.