Michelle Obama UK event tickets being sold for £70,000

THE GUARDIAN:

Dozens of tickets to see Michelle Obama speak at London’s Royal Festival Hall have been snapped up by touts and are already on sale for more than £70,000 on the controversial ticket resale website Viagogo.

Minutes after the phone lines opened for seats at a talk by the former first lady, Viagogo – based in Switzerland – was already offering seats for more than 570 times face value.

While the South Bank Centre has set a price for the event of between £30 and £125, the most expensive ticket listed on Viagogo at time of writing was £72,181 for a box seat.

Sellers, likely to include professional touts, appear to have got hold of them via the South Bank Centre’s ticketing system, despite competition from more than 50,000 genuine fans.

A spokesperson for the 2,700-capacity venue said it had asked Viagogo to remove the tickets from sale, although the website had not done so by 12.45pm on Thursday.

“We are aware that a small number of tickets to this event have appeared on third-party resale sites,” the spokesperson said. “We take secondary ticketing very seriously and aim to discourage this by stipulating that tickets should not be resold for profit or commercial gain.

“If we find tickets on sale without our authorisation by any unauthorised third parties they are identified and cancelled.”

Comedian Ros Ballinger, who failed to get tickets for the event, said: “I think it’s particular egregious for certain gigs or events. To make enormous profits off someone who’s inspirational to people historically oppressed and dedicated to public service is horribly ironic.”

Buyers were asked to join a “waiting room” at 8am, before being allocated a random place in a queue when tickets officially went on sale at 10am. Anyone searching for Michelle Obama tickets would have found Viagogo at the top of Google search rankings. The internet giant has previously come under pressure to stop accepting money from Viagogo to appear at the top of search results.

More at The Guardian

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