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Ticketing firms accused of withholding advances amid cancellation fears

Eventbrite and Headfirst are among the ticketing firms that have been accused of withholding advances in ticket sales amid the ever-growing concerns surrounding coronavirus.

UK trade association Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has told TheTicketingBusiness that independent promoters are facing “financial difficulty” due to agreed advances on ticket sales being withheld.

NTIA said it has been contacted by several independent promoters that have been affected by the decision to withhold.

Michael Kill, chief executive of NTIA, said: “In the last 14 days, independent promoters have been hit with a dramatic reduction in advance ticket sales across the country with the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

“Many of the regional and independent ticket outlets for these events, over fears of impending cancellations, have resulted in agreed advances on ticket sales being withheld, placing some independent promoters in financial difficulty.

“We need to look after our events sector, from grass roots upwards and ensure that businesses are working to support each other through this challenging time.”

An Eventbrite spokesperson told TheTicketingBusiness that it is holding scheduled payouts for all published and future events in the creators accounts in the event that they need to issue refunds.

The spokesperson added: “As a company whose mission is to bring the world together through live experiences, we have been monitoring the impact of the coronavirus very closely. Conditions continue to evolve, and our top priority remains providing the best support to our global community. This is a very dynamic situation, and any changes we’ve made, or will be making, were carefully considered to help us navigate the future of creators’ events on our platform.

“To ensure that funds are readily available in the event an event creator needs to issue refunds to their attendees, we are holding scheduled payouts for all published and future events in their Eventbrite account. This change will only impact payouts which creators were scheduled to receive before their event ends. Going forward, their payout will process five days after their event ends, which is our typical policy.”

TheTicketingBusiness has contacted and Headfirst for comment.

Dan Deeks, managing director of music venue Motion Bristol, said: “As a venue owner I was surprised to hear ticket providers are withholding funds from promoters. Our main provider is acting diligently, and business as usual.

“Without direct advice or direction from the government on events, we should work to business as usual and maintain support for our events industry.”