September 6, 2006 Sean Burns
Resellers around the world, get ready for some more competition. Ticketmaster, in response to recent trouble over Australian Ashes tickets being found on eBay for up to six times their face value, says they want to start offering controlled auctions to reduce demand for secondary market tickets.
Around 1,300 cricket supporters had their tickets cancelled by Cricket Australia, who targeted tickets sold online by know scalpers or buyers who bought in bulk. eBay has been targeted specifically because of tickets released in June that soon began appearing on the site at inflated prices. At press time over 10 tickets remained for sale.
The auction site was originally under fire for six U2 tickets sold earlier in the year for $12,000.
In an interview with ABC Radio, eBay spokesman Daniel Fieler said that Cricket Australia declined cooperation when they requested the ticket numbers of the cancelled tickets.
“Without Cricket Australia providing us with that information, we can’t even take the first step to find out number one, if those tickets were sold on eBay, and number two, if those people are eligible for any form of recourse,” he said. “But if they were purchased on eBay, we have robust consumer protection programs in place and they may be eligible for payment.”
Australian Fair Trading Minister Diane Beamer told The Daily Telegraph that she was considering requirements for online sellers to publish the seat and row numbers on concert and sports tickets. This would be a way for promoters to track down resellers.
All of this is in efforts to allow genuine fans the chance to get tickets. However, Ticketmaster claims the same is true about their plans for offering online auctions.
“If you can get $1,000 for a ticket, why shouldn’t the promoter and the act get it?” said Ticketmaster chief executive Maria O’Connor in an interview with The Australian. “If you can sell the best seats at a premium, you can sell the lesser seats at a lower price.”
Cricket Australia cancelled 1,100 of the tickets before they were even delivered. What they plan to do with the remaining 200 is yet to be decided.
“Where people purchase tickets from a scalper at a premium, they’re in breach of the terms and conditions, and we will, where appropriate, cancel those tickets,” head of Cricket Australia James Sutherland said in a news conference.
Whether the online auction is being created for the fans is debatable. With tickets commanding higher prices from the start, the promoters and venues stand to make more money. And consumers who want a premium ticket at face value are out of luck. Soon to be gone will be the days of finding tickets at face value.