Sports Minister Tackles Touts

The ticketing and events industries need to improve the service they offer fans and cut down significantly on the number of tickets being sold to touts, according to sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

He spoke Feb. 19 as the government launched another consultation to determine the best way to improve the ticketing market for consumers.

The government is proposing a package of measures and wants to see much more use of innovative approaches that have successfully prevented touts from buying up tickets for high-profile events.

“Real efforts are being made by some event organisers to thwart the touts and ensure that as many tickets as possible go straight to real fans,” Sutcliffe explained.

Seatwave founder and chief exec Joe Cohen said he welcomes any dialogue in the fans’ best interests, but feels the government’s time would be better spent reviewing the proposed Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger. He added that three government inquiries have shown only that secondary ticketing benefits fans.

Viagogo responded with a statement saying it supports the government’s stance. The secondary ticketer cited its “groundbreaking” partnerships with football clubs to resell tickets and the DCMS’ recommendation that other teams follow suit.

The new consultation runs for 12 weeks, until May 15. Discussion will include whether the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers is an appropriate body for overseeing a voluntary code of principles to which its members must adhere.