'Absurd' ticket resale price forced Ed Sheeran's manager to act
Ed Sheeran’s manager has told a court how he decided to take a stand after seeing £75 tickets for one of the songwriter’s charity gigs on sale for £7,000.
Stuart Camp gave evidence at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday in the trial of two men who are accused of using computer bots and fake identities to resell millions of pounds worth of event tickets.
He told the jury that he took action over ticket reselling after seeing tickets being resold for Sheeran’s gig for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017 at hugely inflated prices.
Mr Camp said that Sheeran performed the show for free, and tickets only cost £75 plus a booking fee, but tickets on reselling site Viagogo were going for as much as £7,000.
He told the court: “I bet none was donated to charity. This is absurd.
“We just really wanted to make sure we weren’t in that situation again.”
Mr Camp said that he then put a clause on tickets for Sheeran’s Divide stadium tour that meant that they could not be resold – but that Viagogo ignored the request when he made them aware of the change.
He added that three other resale sites complied with the new terms and conditions.
He claimed tickets for Ed Sheeran’s tour were cheaper than most international acts, adding that normal prices were usually around £50 or £75.
“Our theory is that we want everybody to be able to come to a show,” he said.
“We’d rather put on a million more shows for a lower price.
“I’d rather keep people happy and people saying ‘you know what, we’ll do that again some time’.”
He told the jury that people who arrived at Sheeran’s gigs with a ticket bought on a secondary ticketing site were offered the chance to buy an official ticket at face value and given help to claim back the money from the site in question.
He was giving evidence for the prosecution at the trial of Peter Hunter and David Smith, who traded as Ticket Wiz and BZZ.
They deny fraudulent trading over the sale of tickets for big events and shows, such as Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, opened the case by saying that Hunter and Smith used software and bots to make multiple applications for tickets on sites such as Ticketmaster, in order to hide their true identities.
Mr Sandiford added that the pair bought more than £4m worth of tickets, and resold them for £10.8m on secondary ticketing websites, between June 2015 and December 2017.
Hunter, 51, and Smith, 56, both from Crossfield Road in north London, deny fraudulent trading and possessing an article for fraud.