In the pursuit of Liam Gallagher tickets…. 

Few things beat the thrill of going to see your favourite band or singer live, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some great acts in the past, and unless Morrissey and Marr patch things up, I’ve seen all my favourites, that are still alive anyway. But recently it’s become more of a struggle getting tickets and more and more genuine fans are missing out because of the cancer that is ticket touting.

As you were


If you didn’t know, Liam Gallagher is back. So far we’ve had three belting new tracks and a string of good reviews of his festival appearances all on the back of his surprise, and show stealing, appearance at the One Love Manchester concert. All this has lead to quite a lot of hype surrounding him and his upcoming tour. So I was expecting a scramble for tickets, but don’t worry! Pre-order my album and get pre-sale said Liam, well that would’ve been great if they didn’t sell out in 30 seconds, don’t worry he said, there’s another pre-sale tomorrow, 30 seconds again. So on to general sale, come on Daniel you’ve never failed to get tickets before, 30 seconds later, sold out. The thing is, I didn’t get tickets, and I felt aggrieved, I mean I pre-ordered the album with you! Where’s my fucking tickets! But at the end of the day, so did a lot of other people, as the phrase goes, demand simply outweighed supply. But what really sticks in the throat is what happens after they sold out.


Touts


Back in the day, you would always have touts stood outside venues buying and selling tickets at a huge profit, praying on those unlucky not to get tickets but willing to pay over the odds to get in, and this still exists, but this profiteering is nothing to the problem that exists online. Within seconds of a concert selling out, resale websites have the same tickets listed for eye-watering amounts, it happens every time, and it’s this that really hacks off the fan that missed out. Those tickets should have gone to people who wanted to go to the gig, not people who want to make money from selling them.


Ticketing companies


So what are the ticket companies doing to stop it? Short answer? Nothing. The problem is that the re-sale sites are often owned by the ticket company in the first place, Get Me In is a perfect example, this is the re-sale site owned by Ticketmaster. Liam Gallagher pre-sale was done through Ticketmaster, a thoroughly frustrating experience of proving you’re not a robot simply to find out someone else did it a fraction of a second quicker, only to see them on Get Me In immediately after for upwards of 200 quid. How are Ticketmaster not embarrassed by this? They have let the tickets they have sold go to touts, and have then provided them a legitimate means to sell them on at a huge profit, depriving proper fans. The answer I suppose lies in the fact that they take a cut of any re-sale, thus effectively taking twice for the sale of one ticket, this is criminal, or it should be. So you can see, while this is still legal, why would the ticket companies stop it?


Government


So what is the government doing about it? Simple answer? Not a lot. The problem has been discussed by those in power, and the solution they came up with was to make the use of ticket buying software illegal. Making drugs illegal doesn’t stop people using them, making unpaid TV streaming illegal hasn’t stopped people doing it. To stop people doing it, you have to remove the market. If the law stated that tickets for events could not be re-sold for more than 10% over face value, you would immediately make it a lot more difficult to touts tickets. The ability to sell tickets on is important, things happen and people can’t make make the gig, but in this circumstance, being able to sell them with 10% on top would allow for booking fees delivery etc and the seller isn’t out of pocket and the buyer isn’t paying massively over the odds for the privilege of going to the gig.


The Artist


Could the artists do more? I think they could. They could apply more pressure on their management who in turn could pressure the ticket companies to do more about it. Ed Sheeran and his team have made commendable efforts to try and do something, by barring entry to those who bought tickets to his tour from re-selling websites and more could do the same to highlight the issue. I also think musicians could do more to work along side people like Twickets, a re-seller who only list at face value, or DICE who offer an electronic ticket service which are non transferable.


In the end I got some tickets for Liam Gallagher, thanks to my good pal Nath, not great ones, but I’m going and he didn’t pay more than face value, but there will be plenty who weren’t as lucky who will pay the money, and thus feed the machine. I understand this isn’t the greatest problem currently facing the world, but my frustration comes from the fact that it could so easily be sorted out, or at least made much better.

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Cricket, is anyone watching?

The last year has been an interesting year for English Cricket. An Ashes win, away Test, ODI and T20 series wins, the number one batsman and bowler in the world, a new record runs scorer and wicket taker, a disastrous World Cup, the messy and unnecessary KP business and record breaking County Champions. And how much of it have I watched? Almost none. Now this isn’t because I don’t like cricket, I love it. Its not because I haven’t been in the country either, or that I’ve been abducted by aliens. It’s because I dont have Sky.
Sky Sports has a monopoly on cricket. All England tests, home and away, all England ODI and T20 matches, the World Cup, the T20 World Cup, the IPL and all domestic cricket. What is the non Sky subscribed fan left with? Highlights of England’s home games on Channel 5 and Test Match Special on the wireless. This level of monopoly wouldn’t be tolerated in any other business, or even any other sport. The EU stepped in to force the Premier League to share its Football rights with other broadcasters, and the UK government supposedly safeguards its ‘Crown Jewels’, meaning that events like the Grand National or the Football World Cup must be shown live on terrestrial television. So why not Cricket? I’m not talking about all cricket, but things like Ashes test matches, the World Cups or T20 finals day, this sort of thing should be free to air.
In Australia, the Big Bash League is big business. Great cricket played in front of packed out stadiums with all the big names, and best of all? Its all free to watch, prime time on terrestrial TV. The ECB could learn much. The question the ECB has is does it want cricket in England to be a wealthy, Sky TV dominated minority sport, or a sport that is more accessible to the general public? The main protagonists of the 2005 Ashes series are household names, Kevin Pietersen, Freddy Flintoff, Michael Vaughn etc. and these players have inspired a generation of cricketers, I remember watching that series along with millions of others, some not cricket fans, but people who were drawn in by the drama. My worry is that the current players can’t do that because no one, who isn’t already a fan and can afford Sky subscription, is watching.
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year isn’t the be all and end all in sport, it is largely a popularity contest skewed by block voting, but the shortlist is still a pretty good gauge as to what sporting personalities have captured the imagination of the nation, so with no widespread coverage of cricket is it a surprise that no cricketers made the list? No Joe Root, the number one batsman in the world, who’s had a great year, no James Anderson now England’s leading test wicket taker of all time and no Alistair Cook, England’s record test runs scorer and Ashes Winning Captain, nor is there a place for the record breaking County Champions Yorkshire in the team category. Now all of these you could debate should or shouldn’t be on the list, but if they were shown on the BBC live, I guarantee at least one of them would be. And this is where Cricket is missing out, the exposure gained by terrestrial TV coverage would surely count for much more than the money Sky is strangling the competition with.
I’m not anti Sky. The money that they pay has transformed sports like Football and Darts for example, the problem is the monopoly it has over cricket. The football World Cup, FA Cup and England games are all free to watch, and Premier League and Football League highlights are on every week. Now I don’t expect cricket to challenge football as the number one sport, but why can’t it have a slice of the pie? I don’t want cricket to be a minority sport, I want for people to be excited asking ‘did you watch the cricket today?’ Not ‘is there even any cricket on?’, I want more people to see Ben Stokes smash the ball to all areas and Stuart Broad destroying batting line ups. So come on ECB be brave and make a decision that will widen the appeal of the game we all love.