Ticketing Giants Rally to Beat ‘Unscrupulous’ Manchester Benefit Concert Touts


Ticketmaster says it received over 10,000 “unscrupulous applications” from people falsely claiming to be at Ariana Grande Manchester bomb attack.

The four leading secondary ticket sites in the U.K. have taken a united stance against touts looking to turn a profit from Sunday’s Ariana Grande Manchester Benefit Concert.

Viagogo, eBay-owned StubHub and Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and GetMeIn platforms have all refused to list tickets for the One Love Manchester concert, featuring Take That, Niall Horan, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, who is returning to the city for the first time since the May 22 bomb attack, which killed 22 people and injured over 100 more.

eBay has also said that it will automatically remove any ticket listings with staff “doing manual sweeps to pick up any that slip through.” In a statement, the platform said that it was additionally removing the sale of any items “which profits in any way from the tragedy in Manchester” and restricting the accounts of sellers who attempt to do so. Official vendor Ticketmaster has said it will cancel tickets for those who try to resell, where possible.

Tickets for the 50,000-capacity One Love Manchester show at Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground sold out in within 20 minutes of going on sale yesterday (June 1), with organizers promising free entry for the 14,200 fans who attended Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena show providing they can verify their initial booking. The deadline for fans who had attended the original concert to apply for free tickets was extended twice, before closing at 14:00 BST Thursday.

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Since the concert was announced, Ticketmaster says it has received “over 10,000 unscrupulous applications” from people falsely claiming to be at the Manchester Arena show and that it was “doing everything ” possible to “ensure that tickets go to the actual fans and not the opportunists or touts who have also been applying for free tickets.”

 “The music business must be applauded for rallying round to stage this incredible event and for taking positive steps to minimise online touting,” said Michael Dugher, chief executive of umbrella organization UK Music in a statement.

“It would be disgraceful to fleece fans using an occasion like this, charging a mark-up which would go in the touts’ pockets rather than helping people caught up in this tragic event,” he continued, welcoming the “efforts of site operators to clamp down on resales.”

Profits from the One Love Manchester show will go towards the “We Love Manchester Emergency Fund” set up by Manchester City Council in conjunction with British Red Cross. So far, over £7 million ($9 million) has been raised, with Sunday’s concert expected to raise a further £2 million ($2.6 million) for survivors of the suicide bomb attack and victims’ families.

The concert will be broadcast in the U.K. by BBC Television, which is also the host broadcaster for international television networks. Since the concert was first announced on May 30, Robbie Williams, Little Mix and Black Eyed Peas have been added to the bill.

Earlier this year, Viagogo was strongly criticized for listing tickets to an Ed Sheeran charity concert in aid of teenage cancer patients at vastly inflated prices. Tickets for the London Albert Hall show with a face value of £75.00 ($96) were advertised for upwards of £2,000 ($2,500) including VAT and booking fee, leading the FanFair Alliance to accuse the Switzerland-based company of  “moral repugnance.”

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