CMA demands new regulations for the secondary ticket market

Image by Paul Ellis

New proposals from the U.K’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looks to protect consumers from “unscrupulous” ticket resales and touting. The newly proposed regulations put secondary ticket reselling sites such as Stubhub at risk of being shut down. The proposals come as the U.K begins to reopen its live music, events and festival industry after the pandemic induced lockdown. 

In response to the CMA’s proposed examination of the ticket resale market, Labour MP Sharon Hodgson commented that the abuse of consumers by the “parasitical” market of ticket resales “are clear as day,” and that “fixing the secondary ticket market to make it fit for fans will require political will from the government and time allowed in parliament.”

According to the CMA’s proposed new regulations, secondary ticketing sites will need to acquire licences in order to continue operations. They will face being shut down should they be found to violate consumer protection laws. In response to the proposed new regulations, popular ticket resale site Viagogo commented that the take down of secondary ticketing platforms “would lead to an explosion in black market sources for tickets.” They continued:

“We have argued strongly that the U.K. should grasp the opportunity of the COVID-19 recovery to improve the events industry and strengthen market collaboration between all players including event organisers, venues, primary and resale platforms.”

Viagogo acquired fellow ticket resale site Stubhub in 2019. Since then Viagogo has been the source of multiple controversies, most recently refusing to refund consumers for events cancelled due to the pandemic. Prior to this the site was banned from advertising on Google due to the sale of tickets at astronomically inflated rates, an issue which also saw the CMA take legal action against the reseller.