The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


Viagogo boss says face value tickets ‘antiquated’

MD Cris Miller has spoken out in defence of the controversial secondary ticketing platform in a new round of media interviews

By James Hanley on 27 Jun 2023

CMA refers Viagogo/Stubhub merger for further investigation

Viagogo boss Cris Miller has defended the controversial resale site’s practices, describing the concept of a face value ticket price as “antiquated”.

In a new round of media interviews, the MD claims the company’s business model is “beneficial” to consumers and shares his belief that dynamic ticketing is here to stay.

“If you start to look at what we’ve done as a business, it’s always a dynamically-priced industry and always a dive into a dynamically-priced market,” he tells the Telegraph. “This was happening, regardless of our website. The markets existed forever. And the most important thing to understand about the services is that we didn’t create the resale market, we didn’t invent it.”

Miller also expresses regret over Viagogo’s notorious no-shows before the UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) committee in parliament in 2017 and 2018, which led one MP to decry the firm for a “huge lack of respect”.

“[We were] Americans that came over and started the business, and didn’t appreciate the sort of opportunity that it was to be able to explain how the service worked and answer the questions,” says Miller. “Looking back on that, we got that one wrong, and we apologise for that.”

Viagogo acquired rival StubHub in a US$4.05 billion cash deal in 2019 – a move later branded the “worst deal ever” by Forbes due to the subsequent pandemic. Prior to the merger, StubHub and Viagogo were the last remaining major ticket resale sites active in Europe, following the shutdown of Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and Get Me In! platforms in 2018.

Viagogo went on to sell its StubHub business outside of North America to investment firm Digital Fuel Capital LLC for an undisclosed sum in 2021.

Nevertheless, Viagogo has continued to be hit by various controversies around the world. Earlier this year, Italy’s Communications Regulatory Authority AGCOM fined the firm more than €12 million for breaking the country’s laws on secondary ticketing, and has been sanctioned three other times in Italy since 2020.

“If it wasn’t a successful service, if it wasn’t effective, if it wasn’t helping fans get into the events, then we wouldn’t have a service”

Earlier this year, a New Zealand court heard that “scalpers” were responsible for 90% of tickets sold through Viagogo in the country, while a 2022 ITV report found that just three people were responsible for over two thirds of UK festival and outdoor event tickets listed by the platform. The latter report also found evidence of so-called “speculative” tickets – which sellers do not yet possess – being illegally offered for sale.

Additionally, last year, Australia’s full federal court dismissed an appeal by the company against a ruling that the site had made misleading claims on its website relating to the reselling of concert and sports tickets.

Viagogo was banned from advertising on Google globally in July 2019 after the latter came under fire from lawmakers for allegedly accepting advertising money from sites listing tickets fraudulently. The ban was quietly lifted four months later.

However, the UK government recently rejected the recommendations of British competition regulator the CMA to tighten laws around online ticket touting after business secretary Kevin Hollinrake MP said he was “not convinced” by the need for additional legislative changes.

Speaking to London business publication City AM, Viagogo’s Miller argues the alternative to Viagogo was “much worse for fans”.

“We focus on our most important metric which is fulfilment,” he says. “So for us making sure that the fans that use the service both on the buy side and the sell side, we just enable it to all go smoothly.

“What we’re doing is ultimately beneficial. If it wasn’t a successful service, if it wasn’t effective, if it wasn’t helping fans get into the events, then we wouldn’t have a service.”

He continues: “When [Stubhub] started, the market was really inefficient and it was pretty fraught with fraud. There was a number of websites that popped up that had no intent on delivering a ticket taking money up front. There was a lot of scams that we saw. So our entire purpose was to bring order to a market that exists with or without us. The alternative is much worse for fans.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.