Ticketmaster has announced it is closing down its two secondary ticketing sites, Get Me In! and Seatwave, in a move it claims will help tackle online touts.
The ticketing operator said Get Me In! and Seatwave – two of the UK’s four largest reselling sites – will be replaced by a new fan-to-fan ticket exchange service.
The decision has already been hailed as a major commitment by the industry to combat online touts, which use secondary marketplaces to resell tickets for entertainment and sports events at highly inflated prices.
Ticketmaster UK’s managing director Andrew Parsons said fans were “tired of seeing tickets being snapped up just to find them resold for a profit”, and that closing its secondary sites had “always been [its] long-term plan”.
Secondary sites, such as the two owned by Ticketmaster, have been under increasing pressure to be more transparent in the information they provide to customers, such as if there is a risk they could be turned away having bought second-hand tickets.
In April, Get Me In! and Seatwave, alongside eBay-owned StubHub, made formal commitments to improve the way they gather and display information. The fourth major site, Viagogo, did not sign up to the pledge and is currently under investigation by National Trading Standards.
Get Me In! and Seatwave will formally close in October, however no new events will be listed on either site from today (August 13).
The fan-to-fan ticket exchange will launch at the same time in the UK and Ireland, and in Europe next year. It will mean audiences can buy secondary tickets and sell those to events they can no longer attend.
However, sales will only be allowed to take place at the price originally paid, or less, restricting the opportunity for touts to hike up prices for in-demand events.
Jonathan Brown, chief executive of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, said it was “excellent news” that “ticket buyers will have another safe and trusted place to resell their tickets”.
“However, resale for profit will continue elsewhere and the spotlight is therefore on the remaining marketplaces, including those based overseas. The ongoing enforcement work by the Competition and Market Authority and others to ensure compliance with UK legislation is crucial,” Brown said.
A spokesman for the Fanfair Alliance, which campaigns against secondary ticketing abuse, said: “After a long campaign to change the UK ticketing market and to put power into the hands of artists and their fans, the Fanfair Alliance warmly welcomes this move by Ticketmaster.
“While enforcement action is still urgently required to clamp down on rogue operators such as Viagogo, we are now much closer to a genuine transformation of the secondary market – where large-scale online touts are locked out, where innovation can flourish, and the resale of tickets is made straightforward, transparent and consumer friendly.”