FOR an event that rapidly sold out, Anthony Joshua tickets aren’t entirely unobtainable. That is in large part due to the secondary markets and re-sale websites, like StubHub and Viagogo, which have caused much consternation and debate.
There is initial and certainly understandable frustration for boxing fans who miss out on tickets. Tickets to Anthony Joshua fights are snapped up quickly and then re-appear on re-sale sites only for their prices to inflate rapidly from face value.
It causes outrage to see ticket prices become eye-wateringly expensive. On Viagogo in the weeks ahead of the fight an inner ringside VIP ticket was advertised at £88,000, an insane amount (well, also insane for anyone actually willing to part with that kind of money), or you could have scaled down to a mere £26,399 for row 10.
Those are some extreme examples. There have been plenty more tickets available at more affordable, if still expensive, prices. In the week before the fight you could get two tickets in the highest tier furthest back in the stadium for £128 each on StubHub. Given that StubHub whack on a hefty £50 service charge that’s over £300 for the two, steep mark up for tickets which have a face value of only £80 for the pair.
Is this fair? Is it, to a degree a, function of there being a limited supply and high demand? The capitalist in you might argue that something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. There is always going to be huge demand for tickets to a major fight, especially a major fight featuring rising super-star Anthony Joshua. It’s rough on the average boxing fan though, who may appreciate Joshua more than most but typically wouldn’t be member of the super-rich who can slap down a small fortune for a big night out.
Should it be allowed? It feels like a rip-off but it’s not illegal, although at a policy level laws could be changed to forbid it. Or the market participants, the promoter or the fighter could decline to be associated with the likes StubHub. The well-publicised link-up between promoters Matchroom and “official ticket partner” StubHub causes much consternation.
Matchroom boss, Eddie Hearn counters, as he has previously told Boxing News, “StubHub are effectively a ticket box office for us – like Ticketmaster, like Eventim. StubHub also have a secondary ticket arm, where the public only can resell a ticket if they don’t want to go or whatever. Our deal is only on the box office side, so we will give them around five to 10 per cent of tickets to sell at face value only, and they are marked ‘promoter tickets’. Now, the secondary market is where you might go, because you’ve bought a face value ticket at 100 quid, and you can’t go. You might decide to put it back on sale at face value, or you might chance your luck and stick it on for five grand. That is the mentality of some people and that’s not right. It happens for every major event, whether it’s boxing, whether it’s Beyoncé, whether it’s basketball. The resale market is huge, and it’s not illegal. We do not resell tickets above face value – ever. We will never do so.”
He continued, “We do not resell tickets and we will never, ever do that. It makes me sick when I see a secondary market because I think as a greedy promoter, ‘maybe I should have just put the cost of the tickets up myself’. To be honest, I could have doubled the ticket prices for Brook-Golovkin and we would have still sold out, and then maybe there wouldn’t be such a strong secondary market. We use StubHub to sell our tickets at face value only, and they are very important to us at selling those face value tickets. Whether the government will look at reselling tickets, I don’t know. I can understand fans saying ‘Why are you involved with someone who has a division that resells tickets?’ But all I can say is that we have absolutely nothing to do with that side of it.”
If a secondary market like this wasn’t legal, presumably tickets would just be touted as they always have been and still are. Maybe StubHub is making touts of us all. The advantage it has to a consumer is they do guarantee the tickets bought. That is reassuring at least, although given the pretty penny StubHub charges they can certainly afford to back up those purchases.
It is deeply frustrating for boxing fans to find themselves priced out of the biggest and best fights, but a site like StubHub does make it possible for a supporter, who wouldn’t normally dream of going to a tout, actually get themselves a ticket. They’ll just have to be prepared to part with their cold hard cash.