Two of the UK’s most popular ticket resale sites are already promoting the expected availability of tickets for London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display before a single ticket has been issued by organisers.
The sites allow fans who can no longer attend an event to sell on their tickets, allowing others to enjoy an otherwise sold-out event and giving the original buyer the chance to recoup at least some of the original purchase price.
But some critics say they also push up the price of tickets for events by making it easier for people to buy tickets they have no intention of using and then selling them on at a profit.
Some popular events are targeted by industrial scale ‘scalpers’ who bulk buy tickets, helping force legitimate fans to buy resold tickets at vastly inflated prices.
Two sites are already pre-advertising the expected availability of fireworks tickets despite them not officially going on sale until Friday 26th September.
Seatwave is advertising that users will be able to “buy or sell tickets” from midday on Friday 26th September – the exact moment the tickets will go on sale by City Hall’s official first sale agent, See Ticket.
Meanwhile viagogo is offering users the chance to sign up and “Be the first to know when London New Year’s Eve Fireworks tickets go on sale”.
London Assembly members have already raised concerns that the official £10 ‘admin fee’ for each ticket could make the event too expensive for families.
Concern has also been expressed that organised ‘scalpers’ could end up profiting from a publicly funded event.
Fiona Twycross, Labour’s Economy Spokesperson on the London Assembly, said: “It is totally outrageous that there are already resale sites set up ready to cash in on this publicly funded event.
“It goes to show how badly this policy is being introduced. The Mayor needs to get a grip to ensure tickets are not gobbled up by ticket touts intent on making a profit out of this fantastic event.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “To help us stamp out touting and second selling we’d urge anyone planning to buy tickets to only purchase through the official site – www.london.gov.uk/nye.
“All of the 100,000 tickets will be printed with barcodes and the latest holographic safety marks and posted just before the event. For those who change their minds, we have an easy refund policy with a full refund up to 28 days before the event and returned tickets will be re-sold.
“On the night, thousands of stewards will be working to make sure only those with valid tickets are allowed entry to the fireworks and we’d urge anyone without a ticket to take advantage of the hundreds of other great ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the capital available at visitlondon.com/newyearseve or watch the fireworks display on TV from the comfort of their home.”
Both viagogo and Seatwave have been asked to comment.