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UK PM quizzed after speedy Eurovision sellout

Rishi Sunak has defended the government's anti-touting measures after sold-out Eurovision tickets appeared on resale sites priced up to £9k

By James Hanley on 08 Mar 2023

Eurovision Song Contest 2022

Eurovision Song Contest 2022

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak has defended the government’s anti-touting measures after tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest quickly appeared on resale sites priced up to £9,000.

All 6,000 tickets for the 2023 event at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena sold out in 36 minutes yesterday (7 March), with around 64,000 tickets for rehearsals and semi-finals also snapped up within an hour.

Prompted by an investigation by BBC Radio 4 consumer affairs programme You and Yours, Labour MP Kevin Brennan asked Sunak about “queue jumping online touts who have been buying up thousands of Eurovision tickets and putting them on sale for thousands of pounds on dodgy sites”.

“Why hasn’t his government done more to support genuine fans over the rip-off merchants, the spivs and the ticket touts?,” said Brennan, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

Sunak replied that measures were already in place to combat ticket touting.

“We should ensure that there is the broadest possible access to seeing [Eurovision] and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that that happens”

“I’m happy to look at the documentary he mentioned and make sure that we’re doing everything we can do, and I’ll talk to the Home Secretary about it,” he added. “But more generally, it is a source of enormous pride for us to host Eurovision. I know it’s something that everyone is looking forward to and we should ensure that there is the broadest possible access to seeing that and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that that happens.”

The competition is taking place in the UK on 13 May following Kalush Orchestra’s victory for Ukraine in Turin, Italy last May, after it was concluded that it could not be held in the winning country for safety and security reasons. The UK’s Sam Ryder finished second in last year’s contest.

It was revealed last week that the events at M&S Bank Arena (cap. 11,000) in May will benefit from Ticketmaster’s SafeTix, encrypted mobile tickets built with powerful fraud and counterfeit protection. Ticketmaster’s SmartQueue technology will also be in place in the UK to provide an ‘enhanced booking experience’ for fans and ensure fair and secure access to tickets.

UK-based ticket touts Peter Hunter and David Smith, who operated as the company BZZ Limited, were jailed in February 2020 for four years and 30 months, respectively, following an investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team and trial at Leeds Crown Court. The pair committed offences between May 2010 and December 2017, making a net profit of £3.5 million in the last two years alone.


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