Ticket scalping is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with our society

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Ticket scalping has been a blemish on the lead-up to this weekend's grand final (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)

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    Take nothing away from the biggest A-League game of the season, but ticket scalping is another preventable problem that no one will do anything about.

    Football Federation Australia have been asleep at the wheel all season, but they’re starting to wake up to the realisation they have an image problem.

    That’s why they tweeted about Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater’s missing Dolan Warren Awards invite during the week.

    That’s why they’ve just appointed noted football enthusiast Sam Christou to the role of General Manager of Commercial Development.

    That’s why, as Ray Gatt revealed in The Australian, FFA accused the ten A-League clubs of being “unnecessarily antagonistic” in their approach to expansion.

    Yet when grand final tickets went on sale to the general public on Monday, the FFA were caught out by another problem they’re unlikely to have foreseen.

    That’s because everyone assumed the grand final would be played at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

    And had that been the case, the spectre of ticket scalping would never have been an issue – simply because the stadium holds enough seats to accommodate two sets of supporters, with some left over to account for any neutral fans.

    But that was never going to be the case at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.

    Not only is the city a renowned football stronghold, but it’s home to some of the most parochial supporters of any code in the country.

    And they were always going to snap up the bulk of the 30,000 tickets on sale.

    Newcastle Jets fans

    (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)

    So suddenly the fact that FFA is fighting fires on so many fronts with so few resources becomes a problem.

    Because it’s patently absurd that anyone at any time can purchase up to ten tickets in one transaction.

    But that has rarely been a problem in an A-League sense – the 2015 grand final is one exception – because even if someone wanted to buy ten tickets to a game, there’s usually so many seats left over it’s never an obvious problem.

    But it becomes a problem when everyone in town wants to attend the game.

    And it’s one that ticket resellers like Ticketmaster Resale and Viagogo are happy to exploit.

    If you followed them on Twitter, you might have noticed the @TMResaleAU_NZ account has gone quiet.

    They last proactively tweeted back in August 2017, shortly after I pointed out to Ticketmaster that tickets for Amy Schumer’s Australian tour – which was subsequently cancelled – had appeared on Ticketmaster Resale only moments after being made available in an exclusive pre-sale.

    Schumer’s tour was being promoted by Live Nation, which happens to own Ticketmaster Resale.

    And many critics claim that bots – complex computer programs designed to automate the process of buying tickets online – make it impossible for regular punters to buy tickets to popular events.

    The prevalence of bots in the Australian online marketplace is disputed, but even if you make a complaint, it’s unlikely anyone will care.

    Register one with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – which calls itself “Australia’s competition regulator and national consumer law champion” – and they’ll send back a form letter which reads in part: “The ACCC is not a complaint handling body”.

    So it’s left to ticket buyers themselves to do the right thing.

    It’s a shame, then, that a small minority of A-League grand final ticket buyers turned around and placed these tickets on resale sites for hugely inflated prices.

    And it’s symptomatic of a society in which doing the right thing by yourself is often at the expense of someone else.

    Kudos to Newcastle Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna for actively trying to track down scalpers and have them banned.

    FFA, meanwhile, have announced they will launch a full-scale review of every aspect of the A-League during the off-season. They should cap ticket sales to six per transaction while they’re at it.

    And those who think the issue of scalping shouldn’t have been broached a day out from the decider should try putting themselves in someone else’s shoes.

    Namely the Novocastrians who missed out on a ticket to watch their team host a grand final on home soil.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist since December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (117)

    • May 4th 2018 @ 7:45am
      fadida said | May 4th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      My two children and I are Jets members. This should entitle us to 3 tickets for the GF, no more.

      • May 4th 2018 @ 8:08am
        Buddy said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        Agreed. The first round of ticket sales should go to members/season ticket holders of the two participating teams. The second release should be a limited number made available to the two finalists and they could easily be sold using the age old method of queuing up – as far as I know, bots do not hold season tickets nor memberships and I have never run into one in a queue. Once those sales phases are over, then the third phase can be set however you like but probably football family first – ie you need a current ffa number as a registered player or membership of another club.
        The 2 clubs are usually given x number for families of players and dignitories etc. That’s about it and the only ones likely to end up on re-sale are those given to the clubs…… and easily traceable.
        “Where there’s a will” springs to mind but if the organizing body lacks care and empathy and only sees the dollars coming in, the process is doomed to failure.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 8:11am
          chris said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

          Buddy your last line sums it up best. All this mock outrage and we will stamp it out blah blah blah. Meanwhile the Viagogos of this world continue to grow and we have machines talking to each other and squeezing the real fans out.

          • May 4th 2018 @ 8:20am
            Fadida said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

            I’ve often thought Fuss could be a bot

            • May 4th 2018 @ 8:38am
              Redondo said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:38am | ! Report

              Grobbelaar is definitely a bot.

              • May 4th 2018 @ 9:27am
                Kangajets said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

                the droid Cp30 was very statistically minded

              • May 4th 2018 @ 9:44am
                Redondo said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

                @C-3PO is how I will address all future replies to Grobbelaar

      • Roar Guru

        May 7th 2018 @ 12:17am
        NUFCMVFC said | May 7th 2018 @ 12:17am | ! Report

        I would say 6 is right, in my own case I do remember getting a ticket for a casual sports fan I would occasionally go to some games with, so 1 member plus one friend as a marketing gimmick to encourage others to become engaged as Members

        Eg in your case if you could bring your partner and your kids could bring a friend each

        In this case while we are going into Bots etc, this seems to be the same issue as the AAMI Park GF, basically where you have teams with a largish membership base they aren’t bots and they are going to snap up a fair few of the tickets which is what I think happened

    • May 4th 2018 @ 8:11am
      TK said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      Members should be able to buy their own plus one ( a Gf is a great atmosphrre to take a non member to which may result in them joining) it is small comfort to those that missed out but at least it is on tv. I hope the scalpers are left out of pocket. Nobody will pay $1200 for the match they are kidding themselves.

    • May 4th 2018 @ 8:34am
      I miss the force said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      So your argument is based on a 30k stadium in a town of 500 as being small but 42k in a city of 5 million as being too big ?

      If ticket scalping is the worst thing in society then things are good

      • Roar Rookie

        May 4th 2018 @ 9:06am
        Waz said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        He didn’t say scalping was the worse thing, he said it was a symbol of everything that’s wrong in society. Presumably meaning self-centred, selfish etc.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 12:03pm
          BigAl said | May 4th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          scalping is just a symbol/symptom of free market capitalism…

        • May 5th 2018 @ 7:49am
          j binnie said | May 5th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          Waz – Just a matter of interest but “ticket sca[ping” is not new.
          Back in 1960 I had a ticket for the European Cup Final to be played at Hampden Park. Through circumstances my ticket was a “single” and well away from the other supporters I was going to the game with.
          A police inspector who was part of the group advised me to go to a certain gate behind the North Stand and speak to a policemen who would be there.
          This I did,mentioned “my” inspectors name and was asked to hand over my ticket . I was then offered a replacement from a whole bunch of tickets produced from an inside pocket. I was given an enclosure ticket.!!!
          After the game ,and having joined up with my “group” I asked the “inspector” where his contact had acquired the handful of tickets.??
          Answer – Anyone caught “scalping’ had their tickets taken by the police,who then distributed them to anyone who passed their scrutiny..
          Can you start to imagine this happening in today’s politically correct society? Cheers jb.

          • May 5th 2018 @ 9:31am
            punter said | May 5th 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

            Great story JB.

      • May 4th 2018 @ 9:14am
        Buddy said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        Mat the 4th – slightly different angle. These are seen as dark days across the galaxy as the Empire, under the iron fist of Lord Gallup brings more outposts and settlements under the control of his stormtroopers and is now sending out droids to new unexplored territory looking to bring them under the control of his empire. The Jeddi counsel, consisting of Kangajets, Griffo, Fadida, Punter, and sometimes with the aid of Nemesis (ironically named) are aiming to try and bring balance and fair play to the galaxy. They write, nay, implore the likes of Tuckerman, Thomas, Grahame and Palmer to try and put in some sensible thoughts and suggestions to the Galactic Empire, mainly through ex senator O’Rourke who the people still have some trust as he was formerly a champion of their cause and may not have totally been drawn to the dark side.
        For once, the Galactic Empire has been worn down and allowed the GF to be played away from Galactic Headquarters inside the death star. They have allowed some local hero McKinna who runs a small mining outpost in the city in the clouds – Newie. However, Lord Gallup,still kept control of the ticket allocation and didn’t care what happened as long as the empire was able to collect its 2 million in revenue from the outpost. The rebels, from Newie and the Southern city of Melbournia struggled to gain their fair share of tickets as many of the initial allocation was hived off by Jabba the reseller and his minions. With hindsight, Kangajets, Fadida, Punter and co would have grudgingly travelled up to the death star for this one match if it had meant more tickets for their local supporters but in these dark times it is best to keep your head down and just get on with it.
        May the 4th be with you!

        • May 4th 2018 @ 12:10pm
          Kangajets said | May 4th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          I like it buddy

        • May 4th 2018 @ 1:54pm
          fadida said | May 4th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

          Nice Buddy!

        • Roar Guru

          May 4th 2018 @ 9:30pm
          Griffo said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

          Ha! Just read this.Well done Buddy!

          Enjoy the game tomorrow.

    • Roar Guru

      May 4th 2018 @ 8:47am
      Grobbelaar said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      I thought the capacity at Newcastle stadium was more than 30k

      • May 4th 2018 @ 8:48am
        Redondo said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Right on cue.

    • May 4th 2018 @ 8:49am
      Mark said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Despite the match being “sold out”, it will be interesting to see how many empty seats there are on the day.

      There certainly seems to be a bit of ticket scalping in the Newcastle fans sections. Surely they won’t all get ‘re-sold’ at the prices being asked.

      There are also plenty of people selling tickets for the Victory fans sections, although nearly all of these are at face value or below. Seems quite a few people bought tickets Sunday morning then couldn’t make the finances to get to Newcastle work.

      • Roar Guru

        May 4th 2018 @ 9:01am
        Grobbelaar said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        I was wondering whether any of the $1200 tickets have been selling.

        Does anyone know?

        I guess if you bought, say, six additional tickets at $150 each, you only need to sell one for $1000 to make it worthwhile, if you sell two, then it’s a good day’s bit of business.

    • May 4th 2018 @ 8:52am
      Midfielder said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Slightly off topic … Mike I think you will enjoy this…

      Brilliant article about the GF being played in Newcastle….. enjoy all who read … this is good stuff..


      • May 4th 2018 @ 9:03am
        AGO74 said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        I think if FFA had moved GF to Sydney there would have been a storming of FFA’s ivory towers by the citizens of Newcastle and football fans in general. Not even FFA are that stupid.

        I remember being at the 2001 NSL grand final which was held at parramatta stadium between Wollongong wolves and south Melbourne. This was because tony labbozzetta had foolishly thought that he’d get a bigger crowd at parramatta than Wollongong stadium. The booing that labbozzetta copped in the post match ceremony was not much less than the Uruguay anthem in 2005!!

        • May 4th 2018 @ 11:30am
          BrainsTrust said | May 4th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          That would have been the official excuse. There is no way Labozetta believed that. The real reason would have been to have them turn up at Parramatta leagues club. Labozeetta has connections around the Parrmatta Eels. See everytime a big event is played there the leagues clubs get all the business. Parramatta Power were created by Parramatta to draw in business to the leagues club..Ironically their biggest wish came true with WSW who have given the Parrmatta Eels more money than their own team because they kept playing there even the ACL final.
          There is no way anyone would be stupid enough to put Jets Victory in Sydney because the Mariners Newcastle didn;t sell out and Newcastle is not that small. By far the biggest mistake was allowing Victory to host at AAMI that would have cost them over a million easily.

          • Columnist

            May 4th 2018 @ 2:09pm
            Mike Tuckerman said | May 4th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            I was at that grand final between Wollongong Wolves and South Melbourne and, indeed, the grand final at AAMI Park in 2015. AGO is right, the booing of Tony Labbozzetta was some of the loudest I’ve ever heard.

            As for 2015, the atmosphere – ironically – was one of the best we’ve ever seen in the A-League, simply by virtue of the fact it was so concentrated inside what is a perfect football stadium.

            • May 4th 2018 @ 3:14pm
              Midfielder said | May 4th 2018 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

              So was I and it was terrible crowd … and yer Tony coped the booing of all time…

      • Roar Guru

        May 4th 2018 @ 5:18pm
        Cousin Claudio said | May 4th 2018 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

        The FFA would certainly have made more money playing the GF at Allianz or even ANZ, so give them some credit for forgoing significant revenue to please the Novocastrian support.

        Governments all round the world have tried to stop ticket scalping and they can’t.
        Nobody can, so to blame the FFA is wrong.

        These exhorbitant ticket prices don’t come from the FFA or dodgy lads with cockney accents outside the gates, they are the prices being traded on the legitimate Ticketek re-sellers market. Supply and demand.

        The average number of tickets per transaction is 3.3, so its not dodgy robots ripping off the Ticketek system.

        There are a number of fan viewing sites across Newcastle and the Hunter region set up for people who missed out, to gather and enjoy the game as a crowd.

        Enjoy and be happy we have such a good national football competition.
        Its here to stay.

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