Tickets for the April 3 match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace are a super hot commodity right now, and for good reason — after this past weekend’s FA Cup quarterfinal matches, Spurs confirmed that Palace match will be the very first Premier League match held at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Naturally, the demand for tickets to this historic match is off the charts, and whenever you have a high profile game like this there’s going to be a black market for tickets. That’s exactly what’s happening — some reports on social media are claiming that some season ticket holders are offloading their Spurs-Palace tickets for as high as £1200 each.
That’s capitalism for you! But Tottenham Hotspur is not amused. The Telegraph is reporting that the club is ready to suspend the season tickets of any fans that price-gouge and attempt to sell their tickets outside of the official club-sanctioned ticket exchange.
A club spokesman said the following:
“Season-ticket holders or anyone else selling their tickets on social-media platforms and other unofficial websites are in breach of the club’s terms and conditions, therefore leaving themselves liable to having their accounts suspended.
“The only official way to transfer tickets is via Ticket Exchange or Ticket Share which become operational on the date tickets go on sale.”
As an American who has attended his fair share of sporting events in my home country, the idea of ticket scalpers selling high-demand tickets at exorbitant rates is nothing new, nor is it surprising. Hell, it was also common practice for Spurs tickets even a few years ago when the club was using the much-maligned StubHub resale website. I won’t tell you how many pounds sterling I (actually you) spent to purchase the Bournemouth tickets a couple seasons ago when I was in London, but suffice it to say it was many.
Some fans on social media are in uproar over this, and I can completely understand it, as most English fans still hold onto the idea that football is a sport that should be available to the common people at reasonable rates. (American fans, by contrast, are much more likely to accept rampant capitalism in ticket rates and are willing to shovel out as much as they feel as though they can afford.) It is why the club has set up official ticket exchanges that will allow fans who cannot attend to release their tickets for a reasonable price for those who don’t have them.
It’s also why many modern football clubs don’t have paper tickets anymore, but instead pre-load season tickets on passes that are scanned at the gates. Theoretically it also makes it harder for season ticket holders to scalp their tickets outside of the exchanges, because to do so would seemingly require them to hand over their passes to complete strangers, and then collected them back after the match. Seems risky! I asked on Twitter for advice as to how season ticket holders could really do this and didn’t really get an answer. Maybe there’s a way, but I didn’t really find out.
Scalping tickets seems to be considered an incredibly gauche and offensive thing to do in England, and fair play. Having official exchanges is a good way to discourage that, as is the threat of suspension for ticket holders who use their season tickets as a profit-making enterprise. If the club is serious about eliminating the possibility of ticket scalping, then this is exactly the kind of message they should be sending.