StubHub Responds In UK Secondary Ticketing Debate

After FanFair Alliance held Ticketmaster and StubHub accountable for “needlessly encouraging fans towards touted tickets,” StubHub has responded.
– StubHub
Screenshot taken on StubHub’s website, June 21

FanFair Alliance had googled a random selection of 100 live music events, including Ed Sheeran, Roger Waters, Justin Timberlake, The Rolling Stones, and others, and found that StubHub topped search results on 41 occasions, and was in the top two results on 58 occasions. 
One of the alliance’s points of criticism is the fact that fans pay above face value for tickets offered on the sites that top Google search results.
A spokesperson for StubHub said: “Approximately 40 percent of ticket transactions on StubHub’s U.K. site sell below face value, allowing fans who can’t make it to an event to pass them on to someone who can.
“Those with a vested interest in controlling ticketing and fan access omit this fact as they seek to diminish the work that StubHub does on behalf of fans around the world to provide access to the events and experiences they love.”
The spokesperson added, that “99 percent of sellers on StubHub are fans and our site serves as a marketplace for them to transfer their tickets and recoup losses since primary ticket sellers do not offer refunds. We are supportive of more transparency and are actively engaged with Members of Parliament to advocate for fans and their freedom of choice when it comes to tickets.”
Operators of ticket exchanges as well as ticket brokers emphasize, they were providing a service for fans, who were losing out on the primary market, which was suffering from some of the very problems the secondary market was usually accused of, such as in-transparency. They criticize that the current debate set all sorts of rules for the secondary market, while the primary sites got away unchecked.
Speaking about the primary market, StubHub’s Aimee Campbell told Pollstar in a recent interview: “Consumers need to understand how many tickets are allocated across different channels, because I think the assumption by many is that [the entirety of] tickets will go on sale on, say, a Friday morning. But, in reality, not 100 percent of the venue is usually on sale, it’s usually a smaller percentage, because tickets have been allocated to these other channels, and also to industry insiders, sponsors and other people. Those tickets aren’t actually publicly available.”
Stephen Lee, chairman of the recently launched Fair Ticketing Alliance (FTA), confirmed this: “You’ve got all the tickets that get held back, debenture tickets given out to venues, artist pre-sales and God knows what. So when it comes to Friday, 9 a.m., I’m absolutely certain that sometimes there’s nothing there.”
Lee said that brokers, many of whom were music fans themselves, were making sure fans got their hands on tickets. “In times when a few resale sites put a lot of money into getting to the top of Google’s search results, many places where tickets are available are nowhere to be seen on Google. A lot of the time [we] can take tickets from one place to another and make sure fans get a hold of them.”