Spurs fans say "no" to StubHub

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Secondary ticket agencies aren't popular with fans. FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke has branded them “legalised touts” while over in Germany supporters booted them out of Schalke 04. Back in Britain Spurs fans have penned an open letter to the club asking them to stub out their relationship with StubHub...

We are Tottenham Hotspur supporters who believe the club’s deal with StubHub is not in the best interests of fans buying or selling tickets, and has serious implications for football supporters in general.

With a growing backlash against ticket pricing at the top level of the English game, a deal which best serves the interests of those wishing to make a profit from their fellow fans damages the reputation of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC).

The way StubHub works is intrinsically against the best interests of supporters. The absence of restrictions on pricing has led, in some cases, to tickets being listed at up to 1000% of face value. The average list price for a ticket on StubHub vastly outweighs the ticket’s face value. THFC and StubHub actively encourage supporters to list tickets at high prices, emphasising the seller’s freedom to determine a ticket’s list price is a benefit in publicity for the service.

We would like to have seen an upper pricing limit introduced, in line with MP Sharon Hodgson’s attempt to introduce legislation in Parliament to restrict the resale of tickets to 10% above face value. THFC has an ideal opportunity to set an example by aligning itself with this initiative, therefore gaining respect and goodwill.

We note that secondary ticket agencies have been described as “legalised touts” by Malcolm Clarke, the chair of the Football Supporters' Federation. Furthermore, we note that the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust has called for tickets to be sold at face value.

After the Swansea game, the first game for which tickets had changed hands via StubHub, we received reports of supporters having to wait for over an hour at the StubHub pick-up point, with some missing up to 35 minutes of the first half because they were still waiting to be handed their tickets.

We have concerns about the effect this deal has on the value of existing membership schemes because of the number of tickets that will be made available to members. We also have concerns about a number of security issues.

We believe the club’s deal with StubHub should be terminated at the earliest possible opportunity. It should be replaced with a scheme in which the club buys back and sells tickets at face value, possibly through an existing ethical ticket exchange. We would also like to see resale to existing club members prioritised.

We would like to see THFC work with fans’ organisations and other clubs to create an ethical, fair and safe secondary ticketing system, possibly looking to shape legislation to regulate the market.

This deal was agreed without consulting the supporters it directly affects, and has been implemented without their consent. Such actions undermine the efforts of everyone trying to build a constructive dialogue between the club and its fans. We therefore ask that, in future, proper consultation – which means more than informing fans after the event – takes place over any measure that directly affects fans.

This letter is backed by: Dear Mr LevyMartin Cloake (author and fan)SpurstalkThe Fighting CockThe Substantive (Mel Gomes)Total TottenhamTottenham BlogTottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust and Tottenham on my mind (Alan Fisher).

Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this blog.

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