After operating in the United Kingdom for a mere six months, StubHub has already managed to score a hat trick — signing deals with three of England’s football clubs to serve as their official ticket resale site.
The UK maintains strict laws over the resale of tickets to football matches. Until recently, season ticketholders were not allowed to resell tickets to matches they were unable to attend. This made it nearly impossible for fans who were not season ticket holders or who had been unable to snag single game tickets when they went on sale to attend games. However, recent changes in the law have opened up the realm of ticket resale.
Now, ticket holders are legally able to resell tickets, but only through their team’s approved ticket resale vendor. Until StubHub began operations in the UK six months ago, the preferred secondary resale broker among the English Premiere League was ticketing giant Ticketmaster. Now, StubHub has officially joined the fray, offering ticket resale for three English Premiere League football clubs.
In July of 2012, StubHub announced it would be partnering with Sunderland A.F.C. and Liverpool-based Everton F.C. for ticket resale. On August 31, 2012, StubHub officially made it a hat trick, announcing the site would be adding London’s Tottenham Hotspurs to its list of Premiere League ticket resale teams.
While terms of the deals with Everton and Sunderland were not released, it is expected the deals will closely mirror StubHub’s agreement with Tottenham. Under the Tottenham deal, full ticket resale will begin with the 2013-2014 football season, with StubHub using the upcoming year as a means for increasing brand recognition. StubHub plans to work closely with Tottenham and its fans to lay out how the ticket resale will work, in hopes of making the transition to the use of the site smooth and seamless.
StubHub’s launch in the UK market six months ago placed the company in immediate competition with UK secondary market giants Viagogo (which is run by StubHub co-founder Eric Baker) and Seatwave. Unlike the US market, in which StubHub remains the dominate secondary ticket sales source despite a spate of additional consumer options, with only two central competitors StubHub felt it was poised to make a run for a large share of the UK secondary market.
At the time of its launch, StubHub UK communications head Fiona Chow told The Wall Street Journal that the company was “looking into” building partnerships with UK football clubs. In addition, StubHub UK was poised to make inroads with the various high profile concert tours set to head through the UK throughout the summer of 2012, as well as through the UK’s various summer festivals.
With the announcement of StubHub’s partnerships with Sunderland, Everton, and Tottenham, it is clear that the company is making serious steps toward becoming a force to be reckoned with in the UK ticketing market. While it is unlikely that their UK sales will reach the levels of their US sales in the immediate future, StubHub’s goal of beginning to move into the competitive but lucrative football ticket resale market will certainly give the other UK ticketing sites a run for their money.