Industry News

StubHub bites back at FanFair Alliance

StubHub has hit back at its critics for “diminish[ing] the work that StubHub does on behalf of fans”.

Earlier this week, MP and campaigner Sharon Hodgson, citing a new report by anti-tout group FanFair Alliance, called on Google to “cut ties” with resale sites such as Viagogo and StubHub after it was found they continue to dominate search results despite the web giant’s ticket advertising changes.

The new FanFair Alliance research found that out of 100 searches Viagogo topped Google results on 52 occasions, and were in the top two results on 80 occasions, while StubHub topped Google results on 41 occasions, and were in the top two results on 58 occasions.

Tickermaster-owned Get Me In! topped Google results on five occasions, and were in the top two results on 19 occasions.

But StubHub defended its role in the ticketing ecosystem, insisting that, generally, most resellers are real fans and not touts.

The eBay-owned reseller said: “Approximately 40 per cent of ticket transactions on StubHub’s UK site sell below face value, allowing fans who can’t make it to an event to pass them on to someone who can.

“Those with a vested interest in controlling ticketing and fan access omit this fact as they seek to diminish the work that StubHub does on behalf of fans around the world to provide access to the events and experiences they love.”

It went on: “In fact, 99 per cent of sellers on StubHub are fans and our site serves as a marketplace for them to transfer their tickets and recoup losses since primary ticket sellers do not offer refunds.”

“We are supportive of more transparency and are actively engaged with members of Parliament to advocate for fans and their freedom of choice when it comes to tickets.”

However, a spokesperson for FanFair has questioned StubHub’s commitment to boosting transparency for music fans, while also critiquing the firm’s stats.

The campaigning group told Complete Music Update: “StubHub’s use of statistics is intriguing. By their own estimation, nearly two-thirds of their UK transactions are at over face value.

“If that wasn’t excessive enough, at high-demand events we regularly see 100 per cent tickets listed at prices significantly over face value. And with a high proportion listed by professional sellers, including touts based in Singapore, the USA and Quebec.

“So when StubHub claim 99 per cent of their sellers are fans, what they likely mean is that the 1 per cent of sellers who are not fans account for a bulk of their listings and are key to their business model. Which is why they pay them in advance, why they run incentive schemes for top sellers, and why they reportedly operate a StubHub Sellers Council.”