Ticketmaster and Aiken Promotions clash over reselling of event tickets

Promoters of entertainment and sporting events have clashed over whether legislation is needed to govern the resale of tickets which can be sold at prices far in excess of face value.

While Aiken Promotions would like to see the resale of tickets by third parties criminalised, Ticketmaster Ireland argues legislation of the resale market “is ineffective” and would push the market underground, leaving customers exposed to fraudulent websites.

Peter Aiken suggested criminalising secondary re-sale would “give the public the opportunity to purchase a ticket on a fair and equal footing for all”. Aiken’s position is predictable given Aiken Promotions has no affiliations with re-sellers.

So too is Ticketmaster’s position. It owns Seatwave, the main secondary marketplace operating in Ireland.

The conflicting views of the two concert promoters are outlined in submissions to the Government’s public consultation process on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events, launched in January. 

The consultation was undertaken in response to public concern at the resale of tickets for major entertainment and sporting events at a price “often well in excess of their face value”.

The FAI, the GAA, and the IRFU were among the major sporting bodies to make submissions. 

The FAI has also come down in favour of legislation saying it believes that it would be helpful “in order to combat the sale of tickets by persons who purchase tickets with no intention of ever attending the event but who resell the tickets at a significant profit”.

The GAA also believes legislation should be introduced. In a submission, it argues current legislation “in no way reflects the technological developments of recent decades”. 

Nor does it “act an as an incentive for the civil authorities to challenge the on-street touting at our fixtures or extortionate pricing on online sites”.

The GAA said any change to the current legislation “would help protect consumers, our members and the organisation”.

It also argues that “touting in its various forms should be classified as a criminal activity with appropriate penalties in place, whether this be on the street, on-line or private trading of tickets above face value or fraudulent tickets”.

The IRFU, meanwhile, is reserving its position but said it would “welcome the opportunity to enter into a further comprehensive consultation process”.

Currently, there is no statutory prohibition of ticket resale in Ireland or regulation of mark-up on secondary marketplaces.

However, as part of the conditions agreed with UEFA for the staging of four matches in the Euro 2020 soccer championship, Ireland has given a commitment to introduce legislative provisions banning the unauthorised resale of tickets for these matches. 

A similar commitment is to be given to World Rugby in connection with the bid for the 2023 rugby World Cup.

Yesterday, it emerged the sale of sports event tickets for 10% more than their original face value is set to be made illegal after the Government agreed not to oppose an opposition bill on the issue.


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