The British government is launching an offensive against online ticket resellers following a series of consumer outcries. Online ticket Web site Paperticket was shut down by police recently after failing to deliver tickets for several high-profile concerts, including Barry Manilow and Kings of Leon. Several other online ticketers have been caught in similar circumstances. Now Culture Secretary Andy Burnham is reportedly ready to launch an industry consultation focused on the online ticket market for concerts and sporting events. The plan will protect “crown jewel” events from being exploited by scalpers, including Wimbledon and World Cups.
Secondary ticketing in the UK is subject to much greater government regulation than the U.S. Certain events are legally off-limits to secondary ticketers, most specifically soccer tickets in a move to combat hooliganism. Now it looks like more events will be excluded from legal resale in Britain. Earlier in the year, Burnham was quoted as saying, “The reselling of tickets at inflated prices doesn’t add anything to the cultural life of the country, but leeches off it and denies access to those least able to afford tickets.” The “leeching” comments have garnered much attention for Burnham, who’s expected to unveil his “crown jewel” plans soon.
UK Web sites, such as viagogo and Seatwave, offer financial protection to ticket buyers, but the booming tickets industry has seen numerous shady companies appear and disappear in the wake of World Cups and Olympics. Consumers have been ripped off and calls for online ticketers to clean up their acts have grown louder.