AN OPEN LETTER TO PROMOTORS AND THE SECONDARY MARKET

Dear StubHub,

I am a student. I love boxing. And I’m going to level with you… I have fuck all money.

This morning at 9AM, tickets went on general sale for George Groves vs Chris Eubank Jr’s enticing World Boxing Super Series semi-final. A tantalising encounter, which has been the topic of conversation for most within boxing, ever since Groves sealed the pairing with his crushing defeat of Jamie Cox last month. Sadly, once again, the secondary market has stolen the show and taking all talk of the boxing away from the table.

I am writing this approximately 90 minutes after the first batch of tickets went on sale. By 9.10AM this morning, tickets had ‘sold out’, only to reappear on sites such as Stubhub for up to double the price. Time after time this happens, and it is slowly killing the sport.

A particular instance I saw on Twitter this morning…. 25 seats available next to one another. £200 usually, going for up to £450 on StubHub. Excuse my French, but that is bullshit.

I didn’t even attempt to buy tickets this morning. I knew what was going to happen. I do not care to speculate whether it is opportunistic touts or the promotional companies themselves that place these tickets back on the secondary market with the ridiculous mark up. To me, it makes no difference.

The hard bottom line is that if this continues, the interest in going to live events will fade. Earlier this year, a friend of mine paid £300 to sit ‘in the God’s’ at Wembley, only to watch the entirety of Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitshcko as mere ants on a TV screen. Whilst I do not agree with his decision to pay that much money, and the word ‘mug’ springs to mind, I can sympathise. I know for a fact that I am not alone in refusing to pay over the odds for such events, but will it ever stop?

Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing come under repeated fire for their controversial relationship with StubHub over the years. I am by no means saying they are innocent in their dealings by any means, but I am certainly under no illusion that they are the only culprits.

The StubHub offices in America were raided at the beginning of the month. The allegations? Beneficially aiding ‘industrial scale touts’. Will SKY ever report it? Don’t make me laugh. Frank Warren has systematically made a point of highlighting this potential scandal whenever asked his views on the secondary market and the concept of people being able to make a profit on the resale of tickets.

The secondary ticket market is proving a poison for music and sporting events the world over. No regulation and no reason to stop the practice… If there are no consequences and there is quick, easy, money to be made, why stop?

Why? Because it is slowly suffocating what once was describe as ‘the working man’s sport’. Truthfully, I began writing about boxing for A) for the passion but B) so I one day, may have the chance to attend the events that I wouldn’t have even dreamt of had I been a regular paying punter.

The World Boxing Super Series has been a breath of fresh air, and perhaps the best thing to come out of boxing in 2017; however I can’t help but feel the operation is tainted by arguably one of the most contentious issues in modern day boxing. The Series had been hailed for its fairness and affordability… Why potentially ruin it now?

I am not naive to think that I am alone in this boat. The conversations I have had with friends and strangers on social media over the past 12 months confirm this. Something needs to be done, and fast. Boxing fans are as loyal as they come, but once a standard night out at the boxing begins to creep towards a month’s salary, I am sure opinions will change.

Yours Sincerely,

Thomas Humber and disgruntled fans everywhere

 

Read more about the StubHub America raid and investigation:
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/10/stubhub-and-viagogo-offices-raided-in-ticket-touting-investigation

Written by Tom Humber
@thomas_humber

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