London O2 owner AEG is more than a little ticked off by a national newspaper story suggesting it overcharges for tickets because scalpers have shown they can get away it.
“Fans booking tickets for gigs [at The O2] have reported being charged up to four times the price of ordinary seats – not by a suspicious-looking third party, but by the venue’s official website,” claimed The Independent.
Lucy Ellison, the 23,000-seat venue’s head of communications, says the headline – “Why do we charge £200 ($318) a ticket? Because the touts do, says the O2” – certainly isn’t true, and doesn’t really relate to the rest of the story.
The story didn’t actually quote anyone from The O2 saying anything regarding its pricing policy – apart from a spokeswoman who pointed out that promoters set the prices.
“All in all we felt it was an unbalanced article with a misleading headline,” Ellison told Pollstar.
The article dealt with the cost of the “platinum tickets,” which guarantee fans an optimum-viewing seat for almost any amount the market will stand. The value fluctuates depending on demand.
The Independent quoted Ticketmaster, the official ticket agency for The O2, explaining that the “market-based pricing” of tickets gives fans a better chance of seeing their favourite groups than using set prices.
The logic would appear to be that a great number of the face-value tickets will likely have been snapped up by touts, who are already reselling them on various websites for platinum ticket prices.
One of the most common complaints about touts is that tickets “sell out” as soon as they go on sale, only for large numbers to appear immediately at astronomical prices on the secondary market.
The paper’s poll on top platinum ticket prices, usually sold in pairs, found Simply Red at £675.03 ($1,073).
French synthesiser guru Jean Michel Jarre, Supertramp, Mary J Blige, and Boyzone were all offering platinum tickets for at least double the normal price.
The acts who’ve apparently resisted the temptation to sell platinum tickets for higher prices included comedian Peter Kay, Shakira, Roxy Music and Lady Gaga.
Click here to read the complete Independent article.