Industry News

StubHub manager claims ban on tickets above face value won’t work

Wayne Grierson, StubHub’s manager in Ireland, has claimed that proposed legislation banning the sale of tickets that are above face value would not work.

Two private members’ bills in the UK’s parliament have been published recently in an effort to tackle touting and online reselling at inflated prices. One proposes to cap resale prices at 10 per cent above the original price and the other would ban the sale of tickets above face value.

“Fans are understandably and rightly disappointed when they see large venues sell out in minutes,” he said, according to The Times newspaper. “The public has a right to know how many tickets are allocated for general sale. We believe that event organisers should not only publish this information but should also be obliged to put at least 70 per cent for any given event to go up for general sale.”

StubHub Ireland claims that half of the tickets on the resale platforms are sold for less than their face value, while most unofficial selling occurs on social media.

The firm has pushed for a clampdown on computer bots and more transparency around the number of tickets that go on sale through official channels.

“Legislation like this will simply push ticket resale back onto the streets, which will drive out safe platforms that provide consumer protections,” he said.

“Tempered with that is we are a free and open marketplace. We don’t control where they gain access to their supply. Whether it’s tickets or whatever commodity it is, it’s a commodity. Supply and demand will drive the outcome of that.”

Grierson also said that bands, such as U2, which sold non-transferable tickets had “unintended consequences” for fans who could not make the event.

StubHub was one of two secondary ticketing companies that had their offices raided as part of an investigation into alleged breaches of consumer law in the secondary ticketing market.

Officials from the Competition & Markets Authority acted after reportedly obtaining information in relation to the activities of ticket touts who snap up tickets for in-demand events and then sell them at inflated prices on the two sites.

Grierson said that it was inappropriate for him to comment on that investigation. “They’re investigating the whole market. Whatever the outcome of that is, StubHub is there to operate in a legal regulated marketplace,” he said.