Fans accuse Tottenham of encouraging ticket touts with 'StubHub' deal

Seats at White Hart Lane being sold for up to £1,000

Tottenham Hotspur has been accused by its own supporters of encouraging ticket touts by embarking on a three-year deal with a resale website flogging match seats for up to £1,000.

StubHub was announced as “the club’s Official Ticket Resale Marketplace partner” last month in a lucrative three year deal, the financial details of which the club is keeping secret citing ‘commercial confidentiality’.

As the new Premier League season kicks off this weekend, the north London club has angered fans already struggling to cope with the second highest season ticket in the country at £1,895. Only their local rivals Arsenal charge fans more at £1,955 for its costliest season ticket.

StubHub, a subsidiary of eBay Inc. and a secondary ticketing outlet for mainly US-based sporting events, is one of a number of ticket resale websites that is accused of ‘legalised touting’. The most expensive seat for Tottenham’s first home game of the season against Swansea City next Sunday was this week being offered in the lower tier for £1,000.  Another pair of tickets in the upper tier was available for £977.50. The majority of the 100-plus tickets on sale cost between £60 and £120, up to three times face value.

StubHub charges a 12 per cent commission to the seller and given the 15 per cent transaction cost to the buyer means that to recoup face value the seller of a £45 ticket would need to ask £51.15, and the buyer would therefore have to pay £58.82.

StubHub replaces the previous ticket exchange at Spurs, which enabled seats to be re-sold with around a 25 per cent deduction on face value to the season ticket holder who could then choose to use the money to reduce the price of the following year’s season ticket. With the credit option gone, the only way the buyer can get more than 85 per cent back is if the market holds up and they charge buyers over the odds from the start.

Writer and Spurs’ Supporters Trust member Martin Cloake accused Spurs of forgetting its 2006 Out the Tout campaign by now introducing arrangements that incentivise people to exploit their fellow fans and push the prices of expensive tickets even higher.

He added: “There are a number of reasons to object to the club’s deal with StubHub. Some are ethical, some more practical. The principle that you don’t sell tickets to other fans for over face value is as basic as never changing your team and it’s a core part of the social solidarity that holds supporters together.”

Mr Cloake said Spurs once shared the view that selling tickets far above face value is not right, as evidenced by its Out the Tout campaign launched in 2006. “For most fans, the only difference between the ‘secondary ticket agencies’ and the gents who mingle with the crowds outside the grounds offering to buy or sell tickets is that the former have offices and business cards, while the latter tend not to. The end result of what both do is to push up the price of tickets for fans.

“If you give a spare ticket to a member of your family or a friend for nothing, you can be banned from the ground. If you sell your ticket for face value outside the ground, you can be arrested and banned. But if you sell your ticket for five times face value on StubHub, you do so with the club’s blessing.”

Mr Cloake said that one of the most distasteful aspects of the deal is that the club attempts to distance itself from excessive pricing. In an answer to a recent Q&A session arranged between the club and itself on its website, the club said: “While we understand that some fans might be frustrated to find prices higher than they hoped, it is the season ticket member’s prerogative to list their seats at whatever price they choose.”

Mr Cloake added: “This is the National Rifle Association defence – ‘we just supply the guns, if people choose to shoot each other with them, it’s nothing to do with us’.”

Spurs blogger Ollie Bishop said: “The deal with StubHub casts serious doubt over the club’s motivation on eradicating touts. The facility allows fans to extort vast sums of money out of fellow fans and to make matters worse the club is also likely to get a slice of the deal.

“The practicalities of the deal still remain vague. Perhaps there is still a chance that the club may heed some of the fans’ concerns. But I don’t hold out too much hope for a club that is all too ready to treat its fans like consumers.”

A spokesman for Tottenham Hotspur said the majority of seats sold for the club’s first two home games had gone for face value, some for less than face value. He added: “Only season ticket holders can sell their seats and the agreement includes the clause that this can only happen once a game has sold out. Tickets listed by season ticket holders at greatly inflated prices have not sold.

“We shall continue to review and continue to encourage fans to sell at reasonable prices and the market will self-regulate on this anyway with tickets that are at unreasonable prices left unsold. We have had a strong stance against touting over a number of seasons (not just a few years ago) and will continue to do so in the future – this is in no way affected by having the deal with Stubhub in place, nor should the Stubhub ticket facility be confused with this practice.”

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?