Thousands of England and New Zealand fans spent the eve of their team’s World Cup final cajoling Indian supporters, who have pre-booked most of the seats at Lord’s, to sell them their tickets at a reasonable price.
New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and English fast bowler Stuart Board, not part of this English squad, took to Twitter to appeal on behalf of their supporters. According to a source close to the ICC, roughly 41 per cent of the 30,000 tickets for the final are still with the Indian fans.
Neesham, the most followed New Zealand player on social media, tweeted: “Dear Indian cricket fans. If you don’t want to come to the final anymore then please be kind and resell your tickets via the official platform. I know it’s tempting to try to make a large profit but please give all genuine cricket fans a chance to go, not just the wealthy,” he tweeted. Through another tweet, he also tried to put things in perspective. “I mean, I can see why people would want to make a couple of quid and that’s fine, but the asking price of some I’ve seen is absolutely ludicrous.”
Deco Rator, a celebrated English fan who follows the team around the world, too found himself ticketless on the Cup final eve. His Twitter post said: “Please, please, please, does anyone have a spare ticket for the CWC final at Lords tomorrow? If you do, it will go to a passionate England fan who will love you forever”.
Broad took his appeal to the ECB. “Who has followed & supported us as a team ever since I’ve played. Through thick & thin. Deco NEEDS to be at this #CWC final. @englandcricket @ECB_cricket”.
Hope came from one Sumit Agarwal, who tweeted: “I’ve”, while asking Rator to contact him at his number. Also, the ICC has decided to release an extra 200 tickets for the final through their official ticketing site.
Something similar happened, albeit on a lower scale, in the second semifinal at Edgbaston as well, where England beat Australia to reach the final. Indian fans had frantically brought tickets for the game, because they expected India to face the hosts in Birmingham. Australia’s loss to South Africa in the final group league fixture had upset the apple cart and with significantly higher price quoted for reselling of tickets on third-party websites, there were not many takers. Edgbaston wasn’t full to capacity.
The ICC, however, is confident that it would be a full house at Lord’s tomorrow. The British Indians are expected to throng the venue and cheer for England.
With regards to reselling of tickets for the final, The Cricketer has reported that on StubHub, a reselling platform not authorised by the ICC, “two tickets to the upper tier of the Compton Stand are being listed at an eye-watering £16,584.80”. It added that on Viagogo – another ICC-unauthorised reselling platform, “prices start at £714 for a bronze level seat and top out at £4,661 for platinum”. Tickets are divided into four categories – bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
The World Cup managing director Steve Elworthy has warned fans that tickets purchased through “secondary ticketing websites” might not be valid at the gate. “The only way fans can guarantee their ticket will be valid is to buy it from the Official Ticket Resale Platform, which allows fans unable to attend the remaining matches to sell to other genuine fans at face value. Anyone purchasing tickets from an unauthorized source, either online or in person, faces the risk of being left out of pocket and unable to enter the venue,” Elworthy commented on the ICC website.
Reselling of tickets for sports events, however, is not illegal in UK. Back in January, when tickets for the England versus Australia World Cup group league fixture at Lord’s had been going for “104 times their face value” on Viagogo, BBC contacted the ticket reselling website. A Viagogo statement had read: “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.”
StubHub told BBC Sport: “As a ticketing marketplace, StubHub does not set the price of tickets that appear on our site, the fans do. Importantly, the prices for the tickets mentioned are the ones listed, but as it is often the case, those are not necessarily the prices for which tickets sell.”