This week saw tickets go on sale for our home game against AC Milan in the Champions League on 9th March. Having beaten their neighbours Inter earlier this season, there can be few Spurs fans not frothing at the mouth in anticipation at the thought of taking on the Serie A leaders.
In short; it’s a hot ticket and everyone wants one. As we all know from our protracted efforts to get our hands on a new stadium, the capacity of White Hart Lane doesn’t come close to being big enough to match the demand from fans. This puts an extra onus on the club to provide a system by which the available tickets can be bought fairly.
Instead the club has farmed the responsibility out to Ticketmaster. As a regular gig-goer, I long ago cottoned onto the fact that when in-demand concert tickets came on sale, I was better off using a rival service than the terrible website of the self-proclaimed masters of ticketing. I’m pleased to say that I’m lucky enough to have a season ticket at Spurs and don’t have to deal with Ticketmaster in order to see my beloved football team.
Spurs forums and blogs were awash with horror stories yesterday, about the frustrations of trying to purchase a ticket for the game online. Before the game officially sold out, there were countless tales of fans who had been waiting in a queue for hours, only to see the site randomly crash, or suffer some other kind of error, before they could order their tickets. For those fans, the only chance of getting to White Hart Lane for the match against AC Milan now, is through a ticket agency like TixDaq.
It seemed to me that the club exploited the enthusiasm of the supporters, by releasing a statement stating that only members would be able to buy tickets. Most big games are members-only affairs and the club don’t normally feel the need to highlight this, but they knew that the exceptional demand for this game would win them a number of new sign-ups.
Clearly little or no regard was given to the fact that these new members would be just as able to get a ticket as a member who has attended many home and away games over the years and that the increased amount of members would generally make the ticket buying process more difficult. Is this fair? On one hand, every Tottenham fan has got to start somewhere and perhaps this game will lead to them attending many others, but you’ve got to feel sorry for those that go regularly to smaller games and have missed out on the big one.
If you really wanted to make the sale of tickets for big games like AC Milan and Arsenal fair, you could make them subject to loyalty points. Otherwise, if you’re going to put them on general sale, then at the very least you need a reliable website that allows a first-come-first-served system to work and not become a hugely frustrating lottery.
After this debacle and last season’s controversy over the inflated booking fees of last season’s FA Cup Semi Final, surely it is time for the club to give Ticketmaster the elbow and sort things out.