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StubHub claims FEAT could be ‘harmful to consumers’

StubHub has claimed that the new anti-touting organisation Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing’s (FEAT’s) drive to tighten-up secondary ticketing legislation could be harmful to consumers.

FEAT, which launched last week at live music conference ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag), brings together promoters and managers who represent artists including Adele, Björk, Ed Sheeran, Iron Maiden, Elton John, Florence + the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rolling Stones, Radiohead and Rammstein, as well as several festivals.

StubHub said that the organisation should instead focus its campaigning on the primary ticketing industry.

“As a fan-first marketplace we are concerned by the rhetoric of the newly formed Face-value European Alliance For Ticketing and its potential to harm consumers, especially as we observe the trend of rising average face value prices,” Wayne Grierson, managing director at StubHub’s northern EMEA division, said in a statement reported by Complete Music Update.

He continued that StubHub has “revolutionised the long-existing secondary ticket market by creating a safe, secure and transparent platform for fans to buy and resell tickets.”

Grierson added that any legislation to cap resale prices will simply drive secondary ticketing for profit to social media and other websites where it is difficult or impossible to regulate.

He continues: “StubHub challenges FEAT to advocate for increased transparency on the primary market. Fans have the right to understand how many tickets are being made available for sale, and when and at what price and whether those prices will fluctuate due to demand. In the state of New York, it was reported that an average of 54 per cent of tickets never even go on public sale and are instead held back by promoters and primary sellers. When consumers have this information available to them, they can make informed purchasing decisions.”

He also commented on the new regulations for secondary ticketing in the UK, which are now being enforced by the Competitions And Markets Authority (CMA). He said: “This past week in the UK, we’ve seen the positive effects that regulation can have on the consumer experience across the secondary market. Any further regulation should look comprehensively at the entire industry and focus on protecting consumers, not policies that will have negative consequences.”

The UK developments in the “past week” referred to by Grierson relate to the passing of the CMA’s deadline for resale site to comply with consumer rights laws.

A director of FEAT and MCT-Agentur chief executive Scumeck Sabottka responded to StubHub’s comments in a statement: “While we agree on the importance of a secure environment for fans to resell tickets when they can no longer attend a gig, we disagree on the need for this to involve price-hiking to the value of €8 billion annually.

“FEAT advocates for transparency in ticketing, as our website attests. However, on that subject, we question why it took a CMA investigation for StubHub to commit to telling UK ticket buyers what they are buying, whether they are buying from a business and whether their ticket might not actually get them into the event”.

He concludes: “Both artists and fans want face value resale. We note the closure of Seatwave and GetMeIn! in the UK, the success of face value resale platforms like Twickets in the UK and Spain, and the fact that countries like Ireland are moving towards a face value resale only policy. We hope StubHub will catch this wave and work with organisations like ours towards a resale ecosystem that is truly fan first.”

Image: Martin Fisch