For some strange reason it is only in football where the resale of tickets for profit is illegal.
So let’s put this another way.
Someone who has no interest in boxing whatsoever has every right to buy as many tickets for a fight they don’t want to go to that will no doubt sell out so that they can sell them on at an extortionate price.
Now one point of view is that this creates opportunities for people who struggle to make money anywhere else to earn a living and it’s a very valid point but unfortunately they are making money at the expense of someone else. Where a fair price for a show may have been £30 for an average seat, a tout would usually buy at least 10 of these tickets and then sell them on for up to 10 times their face value.
Many boxing fans do not come from privileged backgrounds or are in a position to pay above the odds when it comes to entertainment. So when a loyal fan who regularly spends his hard earned money on shows, television coverage, pay-per-views etc it seems only fair that when a big fight comes around like Froch vs Groves 2 did in May this year that they be able to get their hands on one of 80,000 tickets at their face value.
This was not the case. Many ticket resale sights were already advertising tickets for 3 to 5 times their face value before they had even gone on public sale meaning that they were effectively selling a product they didn’t even have yet.
The when they did go on sale within an hour every ticket had gone whilst the regular punters who were more than likely at work at 12 noon when they went on sale were left wondering how they can get a ticket.
I was fortunate enough to be on night shift and battled the web queues in order to get 3 tickets for the group I went with. Some of my friends who are lifelong boxing fans who weren’t willing to miss a world title fight at the national stadium paid in excess of £150 for tickets that were originally £25.
There was a public out-roar on social media sites such as twitter and Facebook with people blaming the promoter. Unfortunately the blame really lies with the people willing to pay above the odds as it encourages ticket touts to go out and do it again.
As the opening statement says it is not illegal to re-sell tickets for profit at any events in the UK other than football.
In the aftermath of the complaints about the ticket availability for Froch Groves 2, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom sport introduced Matchroom Fightpass for his customers. For £29.95 a year you get 10 exclusive live streamed shows online, a Matchroom t-shirt, access to the Matchroom online video archive, other extras like downloadable wallpapers and most importantly priority ticketing for all Matchroom shows. This one-off fee could be less than the extra you would have to pay a tout for a ticket on top of the face value.
I hope that all boxing promoters take a look at the situation and do something similar to reward their loyal fans.
But more importantly I want the UK government to recognize that ticket touting is unfair and unjust and should be illegal at all events and not just football.
If you do find yourself missing the initial sale of tickets and you don’t want to miss the fight I encourage you all to buy resale tickets from third-party websites that have a face value policy only so you don’t get ripped off and you don’t encourage those who are already trying to rip someone else off.
You can always invite your mates around and watch it on the television where you get the benefits of replays, better views and cheaper beer!
Check out this group of Filipino nannies who rallied round to watch Pacquiao pick up the win last weekend.
by Lee Russell