The UK secondary ticket market, the subject of a government inquiry, is steadily growing and recently received a spot of welcomed news with word that national officials will leave the industry alone in favor of the market policing itself.
For viagogo, the UK-based secondary ticket company founded by StubHub co-founder Eric Baker, the decision by the British government further validated what Baker always believed: that the secondary market should be allowed to thrive in the country.
“We’re thrilled that Culture, Media and Sport Committee Select Committee made clear that it doesn’t want to legislate the industry, and neither does the British government as a whole nor do the fans,” Baker told TicketNews. “At viagogo we work for the fan so we applaud any efforts to make events more accessible to fans on the primary market. By the government supporting the Select Committee’s findings, fans can continue to exchange their tickets through viagogo in a safe and secure environment.”
In just a few short years, Baker has grown viagogo into the dominant secondary ticket reseller in the UK and Europe, so government interference in the industry could have put a crimp in the business. But, as Bakers and others argued, the secondary ticket market in the UK, as is the case with its U.S. counterpart, is simply a platform where property (a ticket) is resold, just like in any other industry.
Backing up the argument was a recent New Music Express survey in the U.K. that said 84 percent of British concertgoers believe that tickets are personal property that people should be allowed to buy and sell without restriction. Baker also pointed out that more than 50 percent of the tickets resold on viagogo in 2007 went for face value or below, and that in another study 72 percent of British citizens believe individuals should be allowed to freely decide how much they’re willing to pay for resold tickets.
Baker will be speaking on the subject this summer during the “The Blurring Line” panel at Ticket Summit 2008, the third annual ticket industry conference scheduled for July 23-25 at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. The panel will address “the different ways the primary and secondary ticket markets are coming together and the potential shifts on the horizon,” and look at “the ways the primary market is attempting to extract more revenue from consumers, how the secondary market continues to provide value, ways the two markets are already working together, and how the line between them is expected to blur even more in the coming year.”
In addition to Baker’s participation in Ticket Summit, viagogo is also a sponsor of the event. Both Ticket Summit and TicketNews are owned by TicketNetwork. “We’re really looking forward to it,” Baker said. “It’s amazing to see how far the event, and the industry, has come in just a few years.”