SBD/May 1, 2014/Events and Attractions

Despite Governing Body's Rules, Secondary Market Jumping With FIFA World Cup Tickets

FIFA World Cup final tickets "are being advertised for more than $40,000 on the secondary market by holders ignoring a threat" from the governing body to "void those not resold via the tournament organizer," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The cheapest ticket to the July 13 final on Switzerland-based reseller Viagogo "is $5,240 for a seat with a face value of $440." FIFA is the "only authorized reseller and doesn’t allow ticket holders to charge a premium, and officials have said they will scrap tickets if they can identify sellers on other platforms." Viagogo said that it is "providing a needed service and doesn’t offer World Cup tickets in countries such as the U.K., where resale is illegal." Viagogo Global Head of Communications Oliver Wheeler said, "We abide by local law and, in the vast majority of territories, it’s legal to sell tickets and that might be for more or less than you originally paid." The company said that U.S. soccer fans "are among the biggest buyers on Viagogo, spending an average of $2,800." Viagogo charges sellers a 10% fee and buyers a further 15%. Viagogo said that it "guarantees its tickets and doesn’t pay sellers until after the event to prevent fraud." Wheeler said that prices "being sought on Viagogo aren’t excessive ... while gougers rarely get what they’re asking for." Match Hospitality Legal Advisor of Brand Protection Imran Patel, whose company is contracted by FIFA to handle sales, said that the governing body "has no plans to allow ticket holders to charge more than the face value on its platform" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/29).
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