Over the time Everton have been in partnership with Stubhub, not much has been said about the "world's largest online ticket marketplace". There is increasing concern though at the prices of tickets for Everton games advertised for sale on their website.
It is illegal in the UK for a fan to re-sell their match ticket without permission of the clubs who sell the tickets. However, companies like Stubhub have signed no doubt lucrative deals with football clubs like Everton to legally resell tickets on their platform, often at a huge profit.
Ticket prices for the forthcoming Merseyside Derby for example have been advertised for in excess of £2,500, despite the highest face value ticket being priced at £47.
Stubhhub will argue that they do not set the prices of tickets and are merely a platform for transactions to take place. However, its their rules and regulations that allow fans to ask for any price they like for a single ticket. Away from a website this would be called touting.
Stubhub take a whopping 40% for the sale of just one ticket. That breaks down into 15% from the seller if the ticket sells, plus their cost of advertising a ticket on their website. They also take up to 25% from buyers. It is little wonder they are so keen to break into this market.
Those percentages aren't the only issue with fans. Many fans are outraged as to how the ticket giant can allow supporters to charge well over £2,400 more than the face value of a ticket. Again, if this was away from a website the person selling a ticket at the price would be accused of being a ticket tout, is Stubhub any more than that?
£2500 is a lot of money, to put it into context, here are some ways you could spend your money better: Everton's current highest priced season ticket is £710, based on that figure you could buy a season ticket a each year for three seasons and still have change spare. You could even have a night in London's five star luxury hotel, The Ritz, for a weekend break for two and still have change in your back pocket. You could even buy yourself small shares in the football club and benefit from any upturn in the future.
The scheme also promotes a potentially unsafe environment for those sat around these seats as anyone can buy these tickets. A fan of the opposition can openly buy these tickets and sit amongst the home supporters. Imagine a gloating Kopite on Derby day! Every Evertonians worst nightmare. These are the issues that Stubhub clearly are aware of but choose to ignore. The club need to respond to our concerns and ask the company to facilitate improvements or cut ties completely.
Some people have said if someone is stupid enough to pay that fee then leave them to it, and demand in the market dictates the price. But despite being technically legal, surely the system is immoral and against the spirit of the sport?
It's like stealing from someone within your family, how any Everton fan can be happy to ask another Everton fan for £2500 for a single ticket is beyond me. Selling a ticket at that price is called taking advantage, not just taking advantage of a fan who may be in desperate need of a ticket, but also taking advantage of a big game and using it for their own financial gain.
Thankfully Evertonians on the whole look to sell a ticket for a game for the value that is written on the ticket. However, in order to stop Stubhub making thousands of pounds by trading in such a way, many people have set about boycotting the ticket marketplace and making their dissatisfaction known to the club. The Blue Union have set about their campaign 'Stop Stubhub' and may others have gone about on social media to air their disapproval.
The issue isn't just with football ticket. Only last week representatives from music, sport and entertainment, including the Arctic Monkeys, the managers of One Direction, the National Theatre, the Lawn Tennis Association, the Rugby Football Union and the England and Wales Cricket Board all signed an open letter to the government calling them to offer more protection to fans and crack down on the practices of secondary ticket sellers.
Notice the FA, Premier League and Football League didn't.
Personally, we could all speculate as to how things would work better in an ideal world. If I was to be in control of one change to make things better for the honest fan I'd suggest the company take a small fee of say no more than £5 for listing a ticket on their website, the ticket must then be listed at no more than £10 above its face value by the seller and the company take no more than £5 from the final price. This way the company earns £10 almost guaranteed by the listing and sale of the ticket, the seller makes a small profit on the ticket and the buyer isn't ripped off for a one off event.
But it's obvious the ticket giant shares no interest in how the fans feel due to the sheer millions this company make from their legalised touting system and the incentives I imagine they give to clubs in order to have access to their tickets.
In my book that means everyone wins, but it's seems Stubhub are only interested in one party ultimately winning, and that's themselves.
I think it's completely unprofessional of our club to be involved with such a ticket marketplace when it's clear the club officials have no idea how Stubhub operate or choose to ignore it. We should cut all ties with them.
Supporters meanwhiles should completely abandon the use of the company and force the hand of either Stubhub to make their unlikely changes or to our club itself to walk away from the company and begin to look for a more fan friendly solution.