We were overwhelmed with a large number of detailed ticketing queries, which were better suited to a dedicated ticketing discussion than to the more strategic meeting of the two Boards. So, we spoke with senior THFC ticketing and supporter services staff separately to cover off as many queries as possible. Here’s what was discussed, which we hope you’ll find useful.
- Concessions – based on fan concerns around junior members being allocated full price seats in the ballot, we argued for members eligible for concessionary pricing who were successful in the ballot to be charged that price wherever they sat at White Hart Lane for the remainder of this season. It was agreed to take this to the Board meeting and this is covered in our minutes.
- Splitting the North and South stand in the ballot – fans wanted to be able to choose either the Paxton or the Park Lane in home ballots. THFC felt that doing so would significantly restrict the chances of success in the ballot as there were so few match day seats available in these stands this season. It was agreed to flag at the Board meeting with THFC to consider the practicalities for future ballots.
- Empty seats at home matches – fans had asked why there were areas of empty seats at home Premier League matches this season. THFC explained that, for the Crystal Palace match, there were empty seats in the East Upper owing to the late hand back of the stadium from the builders. Seats were being screwed in the day before. There was an admission that the Club was perhaps too conservative in how many seats were sold in case they weren’t ready on the day. At the Liverpool match, late sponsor returns left the Club with insufficient time to sell again, given the restrictions around Category A matches. They have now adjusted the cut off for returns accordingly and put in place appropriate mechanisms for selling these returns to fans. They don’t anticipate any issues with the Manchester City match.
- Loyalty points for StubHub purchases – fans had asked whether loyalty points were awarded for purchases made on the StubHub resale platform. THFC confirmed that this already happens, is in the StubHub FAQ’s and members purchasing from that platform should notify THFC by email to get points added onto their accounts.
- Booking fees on membership direct debits – we were asked why One Hotspur members who choose to renew their annual memberships via direct debit were charged a booking fee. THFC confirmed that this was contractual with Ticketmaster as a transactional charge and couldn’t be avoided. It could be absorbed into the cost of membership but THFC preferred to be transparent.
- Resale of away tickets – several fans had noted the transfer of away tickets across social media and various forums and wanted to know the Club’s position on this. THFC confirmed that they do and have pulled up members and Season Ticket holders who visibly transfer tickets on social sites and memberships have been suspended as a result. When it’s possible to trace an individual via their social ‘persona’, the Club will follow up.
Champions League at Wembley:
- Staggered release of blocks - many fans had asked why there was a staggered release of blocks at Wembley during the members’ multi-game package sales window. There was an understanding that some would be held back for individual match purchase, but the perception was that on day one of the members’ window, every seat available for members would be on sale. Which wasn’t the case.
- THFC explained that the Club was very keen to put all three games on sale in a package before the draw in case some matches were less ‘attractive’ than others. They’d made a commitment to use a full capacity Wembley stadium and needed to ensure as many tickets as possible were sold for all three of the group stage games. This meant going on sale at a stage when it wasn’t clear whether a number of areas would be available until much later on. These areas included Club Wembley seats, some Level 1 seats, returns from the visiting team(s), the front rows of the East and West stands due to advertising boards, seats in potential camera positions and the 15 rows where Billy Joel’s stage had been on the Saturday night before the Monaco game.
- For future games, the front 10 rows around the stadium will be held back and may be released in the week of the game.
- Spurs will maximise the number of seats they can sell but there will be larger away allocations (4,500 not 350!) and that will require segregation, also.
- On the opening day of the members’ multi--pack window THFC had agreed with Wembley not to sell certain sections of the stadium as it was uncertain of the take up. This meant that not all sections of the stadium would have to be open on the night. There were difficulties in communicating this as THFC needed fans to buy up the blocks that were available in order to be able to open up other blocks. Had this been explained, there was the chance members would have waited and never reached the point needed to trigger the opening of other blocks.
- THST stressed the need to communicate sometimes complex details in future in a way that fans both comprehended and appreciated. THFC agreed to look at this moving forwards.
- Why wasn’t there a Bronze booking window? – The lack of a priority booking window for Bronze members on the opening day of the multi--pack window has been raised on numerous occasions by many fans. THFC explained they hadn’t included that window because they didn’t want to add in another layer of ticketing priority after the Season Ticket holders’ window. Purchases had been made by mostly mixed groups of Bronze and Lilywhite members, indicating adding in another window would have made more fans wait for longer to buy the packs. That said, THFC is happy to consider running a Bronze window for future sales.
- Why not offer Season Ticket holders the chance to buy additional tickets before moving to general sale for the Monaco match? – This couldn’t be planned in advance as take up was unknown and there wouldn’t have been sufficient time to add in another window later on given that Match Day 1 was at home. It would also have led to many ST holders wanting to move to sit with their friends/ family (or vice versa) and that wouldn’t have been possible because those seats would already have been allocated.
- What happened with Ticketmaster? – We asked the Club to give its view on Ticketmaster’s performance, given the queuing problems experienced by many members on day one of the members’ sale window. The Club said the volume of applications was unprecedented and there was simply insufficient capacity. They acknowledged the queuing time was unacceptable and have discussed this with Ticketmaster. They have received guarantees that lessons have been learned.
- Why were tickets to overseas applicants not posted out, despite postage and packaging being charged? - The Club said it took the decision, along with Ticketmaster, not to post out tickets to overseas applicants once it became clear Match Day 1 would be at home. The sales of the Three Game Package took place before the draw had been made. Had the first home match been the second of our Group Matches and not the first then the majority of overseas tickets would have been dispatched as time would have allowed this. All overseas applicants who collected their tickets at Wembley will have their postage refunded. In future, overseas applicants will be informed at point of purchase if tickets are collect only and no postage charge will be made in advance.
- What’s the plan with seating for future stages of any UEFA competition? The Club confirmed that everyone who purchased a multi-game pack would be given the chance to keep the same seats if the team progresses to the later stages of the competition.
- Will members be offered season tickets at Wembley? – THFC confirmed they are still working through the finer details but would be looking to offer those to members at the top of the waiting list.
- Would there be a Season Ticket Amnesty at Wembley? – THST’s position, backed by the findings of our last survey, is that the CHOICE of an ‘amnesty’ should be offered, particularly as the vast majority of fans had thought this option would be on offer. We pointed out that the majority of ST holders who thought there should be a choice offered said they would not take advantage of it. It was agreed to take this to the Board meeting and this is covered in our minutes.
At THST, we have a constant dialogue with both the ticketing and supporter services departments at THFC. We’ve had a huge number of questions and case work around ticketing so far this season, no surprise given the changed circumstances. We deal with individual questions where we can, and help people contact the Club to resolve issues where appropriate.
Resolving individual issues with a complex bigger picture is a challenge. Individuals, naturally, are most concerned with their own individual issues, rather than how their own situation affects others or fits into the bigger picture. What we try to do is ensure fans get a fair hearing, and take up any general themes to discuss with the Club. We also always push the Club to communicate as clearly and as early as possible to explain decisions to supporters.
Quite a few individuals have had their issues resolved to their satisfaction, and the Trust has also been able to persuade the Club to adjust its approach on a number of issues. So, for example, we successfully pushed for Cat A game tickets at White Hart Lane to be allocated by loyalty points when the Club’s original suggestion was to ballot every home game, apart from the last home match of the season. To be clear, retaining the existing system was never considered by the Club to be an option. We also successfully argued for accessible pricing for the Wembley Champions League tickets and for the group stage package on sale windows to be extended.
Ultimately, any decisions on ticketing are made by the Club. If we feel, based on our experience and member feedback, that they have made the right decision, we will say so. If not, we will continue to put our case and attempt to work for constructive solutions.