Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Great Cricket World Cup Swindle

I fancied buying a ticket for one of the London matches in next year's World Cup. Having attended my first World Cup match at Lord's for the Prudential World Cup in 1979, it would be nice to see a game forty years later. Or so I thought? Today, I looked into buying a couple of tickets for England v South Africa at the Oval. What I found horrified me. The Cricket World Cup has become just like any other major event here in the UK and it is you and me, the average fan who is being ripped off. I realised that without admin fees or delivery charges, a pair of tickets would set me back £450. Ticketing for anything within the entertainment industry, cricket included, needs looking at. And fast.

Try and buy a ticket through a certain website and you will firstly get redirected to a third party ticket provider. In this instance it was Viagogo. Get me in, Stubhub and many others have caused serious issues with music artists recently and Viagogo almost caused me to go Viagaga. Firstly let's have a look at some of the myths surrounding these sites.

When re-directed you will get a load of 'pop ups' springing into action all over your screen, like a technological Derek Randall in the covers. Gordon Greenidge may have been less confused to find 'Arkle' popping up to run him out in the final back in 1979. Sold out is the first myth - there is no such thing as a sold out event before tickets go on sale. A quick bit of research shows that a Justin Bieber concert (no, I promise I didn't enquire) was held at a venue in the States that held 20,000 people. With his record company selling on tickets, pre sales, sponsors tickets and then those for third party providers, just 1500 tickets remained on sale to the general public. No wonder it sold out in twenty mintues. Despacito? More poquito, or a small amount, as the Spanish say. I digress.

More pop ups than Randall...

So back on my third party ticketing site, I was told that 39 people had bought tickets in the last hour. I was also told my one of the numerous 'pop ups' that there was less than 1% of the tickets remaining for the event. I felt like a rainbow trout being reeled in by Sir Ian Botham on the Tay. So where have the tickets gone?

Third party ticket providers use a software called BOTS which allows them to spam markets, such as the Cricket World Cup as soon as the tickets become available, in this instance via a ballot. They know that they will have multiple tickets for every application that genuine fans make, on the opening second, of the opening minute that the tickets become available. Forty or fifty will be snapped up by these companies every minute, until it is sold out. This is how these people make a living and they are far better at getting their hands on tickets than you or I, with the help of BOTS of course. Despite it being against the law, this is how those unscrupulous gentlemen that line the walkway between St John's Wood tube and Lord's yelling "Tickets to buy, tickets to sell" in front of the police, earn a crust. That's for those tickets that end up back on the market that aren't sold via the third party provider.

Back to the site and I was 'fortunate' enough to find that there were a pair together in the OCS stand for the match. However, the price of £225 per ticket without any add on sundries, such as taxes or delivery fees, would push the price of a pair of tickets up to around the £500 mark. Which frankly, I find outrageous.

So how do the ICC stop this fiasco?

Well as mentioned above a law came in to effect in July 2018, stopping people from harvesting tickets and cornering the market. It hasn't seemed to have worked.

Glasto...will cricket follow their lead?

Glastonbury Festival now requires people to have full photo ID for their ticket, so I'm led to believe. It won't be long before cricket has to do the same. With 99% of fans now having smart phones, a code could be sent to the end user, which would then be scanned on the gate. A tout may sell his mother but not his mobile, trust me. Allied with the photo ID this is the only way I see that people can get around what has become a monopoly on every bit of entertainment. The Old Kent Road, which runs close to the Oval may be one of the cheaper properties on a Monopoly board but if a third party provider monopolised it, it would be resold at Mayfair prices.

The re-selling of tickets needs looking at, although I believe that certain companies are looking at fairer ways of those who can't make the event to sell their tickets back to like minded fans who don't wish to have to remortgage just to watch an event. However, critics are saying that Chris Tavare took less time to score a fifty than the amount of time being taken by these companies.

The World Cup should be a prestige event. One aimed at children to promote the game, to promote British heritage in front of the world and should be a Blue Riband event, one of which we should all be proud. It is our chance to have full stadia and show how well we do these events. What we are finding is that ticket companies are selling the tickets on to normal fans at three or four times the face value price.

We have found already, nine months before a ball is bowled, that the Cricket World Cup 2019 been hijacked by modern day highwaymen.

1 comment:

  1. I just tried to look at ticket prices at Old Trafford. The only thing open seemed to be the ballot, where you had to register interest by 29th August. It might be run by highwaymen, but they don't seem to be very competent ones.