Hockey ticket touts roam the streets as police stand by

The issue of ticket touts has started attracting attention at the 2011 Ice Hockey World Championships in Slovakia, but nobody seems to have a problem with it.

photo: VanCityAllie

For example, the police stand by unperturbed as ticket touts openly offer tickets outside the Orange Arena hockey stadium in Bratislava, and police spokesman for Bratislava Region, Fantisek Peczar, even told daily newspaper SME that there is essentially nothing illegal about it if both parties agree.

The daily even claims that some police officers are trying to buy tickets from the touts, after its reporters started filming one tout who was in the process of negotiating with an interested police officer, who swiftly walked away. The tout complained to the reporters that they had messed up his deal.

The interviewed one ticket tout, Dave from Liverpool, England, who toured Bratislava city centre offering his wares. Dave openly confessed that it had been his profession for over twenty years. He readily pulled out a wad of tickets, asking what game we were interested in, and he even had a business card specially made with local Slovak phone numbers on it, so we could contact him in the event of interest.

Dave was offering tickets for this afternoon’s match between Slovenia and Germany for just EUR 40, even though their face value was EUR 45, which invokes some suspicion as to the authenticity of the tickets, or was it because his time is running out and so he is just counting his losses?

Dave is also interested in buying tickets, though, so he is presumably dealing with authentic tickets. Dave seems to be a prime example of how trying to clamp down on ticket touts makes no sense. He travels the world to various sporting and other events and there are always ready buyers, no matter what the price.

Reselling tickets is prohibited, but as the Slovak Trade Inspectorate explained to police, it is difficult to prove that any crime is being committed, as the tout could easily testify that the tickets had belonged to friends who had fallen ill, for instance. The official exclusive ticket seller in Slovakia is the company Ticketportal, and the tickets even bear a warning that resale is prohibited.

Trying to get a ticket for this evening’s crucial match between Slovakia and Russia is almost impossible, but not totally. There are still some being offered on the internet, for instance, if you are willing to pay several times the face value as the current price is around EUR 510 for a class 2 ticket and as much as EUR 660 for a class 1 ticket. The found 2 tickets on sale for the final at the price of a small car, your’s for just EUR 3,555.

At the end of the day, tickets to sporting events are subject to the same conditions as any other commercial deal or auction, where the price is either negotiated or goes to the highest bidder, so as the police spokesman says, no crime in that. The does not condone ticket touting, but given the difficulty of getting tickets, it does have information for anyone wanting to sell or buy tickets who has no problem with the official prohibition or with their conscience.

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