Consumer Association says a single ticket resale website could tackle the touts

Some 80,000 music fans will take to Croke Park tomorrow to watch U2

A single digital marketplace for the resale of unwanted tickets may be the solution to ticket touting, according to Dermott Jewell of the Consumer Association of Ireland.

Jewell made the comments when speaking to Newstalk.com ahead of the U2 gig, which is taking place in Croke Park tomorrow.

“We need one single resale website. That can be run by an independent body or it can be run by the state. It would be the only site you can resale a ticket on, to sell it otherwise would be illegal.

The site may charge a 5 or 6% fee, which would fund the site. It would be self-funded, protect those buying the tickets and ensure people buy them at face value or close to it. Everyone should, reasonably, be happy.”

The controversy around ticket touting was raised once more by TDs Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly after tickets for the U2 gig appeared on second-hand sites for multiples of the face value. Both TDs have called for legislation, a move which MD of Ticketmaster Ireland, Keith English, told Newstalk.com will not solve fan disappointment.

Responsibility

Dermott Jewell says the efforts made by musician Ed Sheeran to tackle the touts thus far should be commended.

“It’s a great move. A lot of the time, the artists don’t take responsibility at all. Ed Sheeran has gone way beyond on this. If there was to be a consumer award, I think he deserves it. There is a need to protect fans.

This is about those who pay for the tickets, rather than those who sell them. Too much of the focus goes on the reselling. You won’t stop the reselling unless you make it illegal and unless you make a really simple alternative and that one-size fits all website could be the way to do it.”

A trio of Trinity graduates have founded a startup called Ticket Chain, which when up and running, could hold resolve the touting issue. Speaking to Newstalk.com earlier this week, co-founder and CEO Jake MccGwire explained how exactly it works. 

"Ticket Chain is a paperless ticketing platform that enables us to eradicate touting and fraud. We do this by allowing promoters and artists to control their own primary and secondary market. This means they can control the price at which tickets are sold peer to peer. It's all digital, so you have a ticket in your digital wallet.

If you can't go to the gig, simply click 'sell' within the app. That ticket is then re-released into the secondary market. Users will then have the opportunity to buy that ticket. When they buy the ticket, it is reassigned to that person. We cap the pricing, meaning it's not possible to sell over face value."  

Legislation 

Deputy Noel Rock says the Government needs to act on this issue. 

"The Government needs to step up and take the right measures to ensure that consumers are protected for high profile events such as concerts and sports events.”

Deputy Rock introduced the Prohibition of Above-cost Ticket Touting Bill 2017 in January of this year and is currently waiting for it to be progressed to the second stage.

“Legislation is now long overdue and I hope that the Government will be in a position to progress the Bill to the second stage when the Dáil resumes in September. This legislation needs to be in place before we hold such high profile events as Euro 2020 and hopefully the 2023 Rugby World Cup, if our bid to host it is successful."