Eurovision ticket sales suspended as scalpers profit

Eurovision Song Contest logo Photo: PR

Scalpers are charging 11 times the original price for tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest, while celebrities have been given preference over the public.

The Israel Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) today told the Leaan ticket agency to halt ticket sales for the Eurovision Song Contest. Leann won a tender to sell the tickets. Kan management's supervision and auditing systems detected possible irregularities and faults in Leaan's ticket sale process.

Kan's supervision systems detected an attempt by various parties to interfere with the sale process, giving rise to concern that hundreds of tickets worth hundreds of thousands of shekels for the best seats in the hall were sold to leading media and sports celebrities against the orders of Kan's council.

Tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest finals, which went on sale in the first round of selling, sold out in minutes.

Kan announced that the sale of tickets was suspended until the matter could be examined. If it is found that tickets were sold illegally, Kan will take action to put them back on sale to whom they were originally meant for - the general public.

A ticket for NIS 22,500

Last Thursday's mad rush for tickets, despite their high price this year, in which all the tickets were sold in less than an hour, attracted the attention of scalpers. Of the thousands of people who managed to buy tickets, quite a few sought to resell them at a huge profit.

On the Viagogo website, infamous for its high prices, excessive commissions, and failure to provide tickets to people who bought them, tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest are being offered at scandalous prices of NIS 22,500 or NIS 18,000. There are also tickets being offered for NIS 3,000, however (which still gives the sellers a healthy profit). The website also displays a list of the Golden Ring tickets to the finals sold for NIS 3,000.

The official ticket prices for the finals are NIS 1,150 for tickets in the hall, NIS 1,500 for standing room Golden Ring tickets and VIP tickets for NIS 2,000. The NIS 22,500 price offered on Viagogo is 11 times the original price.

Viagogo is not the only one trying to cash in on the frustration of those left without tickets; tickets are also being offered on Israeli websites at prices far above the original sale prices.

If you missed out on tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest, you can still buy a Eurovision Song Contest t-shirt for €27-30, a Eurovision Song Contest hoodie for €60, a Eurovision Song Contest brand notebook (€24.50), and European Song Contest bracelets or balloons (€5). These products are on sale on official 2019 European Song Contest Facebook page; the high prices are drawing criticism. "Everything is so expensive," one response complains. "For the price of a hoodie, I can buy a ticket to see Lana Del Rey."

In addition to reactions to the prices, there are also responses harshly critical of Israel, among them calls to boycott this year's Eurovision Song Contest, including the Israeli flag imprinted on the brand products.

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan yesterday instructed Israel Police to take immediate action against Eurovision Song Context ticket scalpers. He ordered that all means necessary be taken to prevent the scalping of tickets to the contest. Ticket scalping is banned under Section 194A of the penal code.

Erdan said, "Abusing and exploiting the public by scalping tickets is an ugly and illegal practice. We will not allow an historic and joyous event in which celebrants from all over the world will take part to become a tool in the hands of criminals giving Israel an ugly image. I have instructed the police to use all of the means at its disposal against scalpers."

Viagogo stated in response to the report: "Viagogo does not set ticket prices, sellers set their own prices, which may be above or below the original face value. Where demand is high and tickets are limited, prices increase. If a customer has any problems with their tickets, we urge them to contact us immediately on our event day hotline. We are often able to find replacement tickets right away, and in the rare instances we are not able to, customers receive a full refund."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 3, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Eurovision Song Contest logo Photo: PR
Eurovision Song Contest logo Photo: PR
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