Manchester United`s latest ticket communication 13/12/2022
Our aim is to put you, our fans, at the heart of the club and to always act in your best interest. An important area for match-going fans is, of course, ticketing and we believe it is our job to protect our loyal fanbase. To do so we have introduced a range of policies and approaches to:
Ensure tickets are not sold illegally Increase the number of tickets available for our 330,000 Official Members Ensure we have a full stadium to create an even better atmosphere to help our team Ensure that we have visibility of who is in the stadium.
However, we know some of the recent communications around this could have been clearer, and that some fans may feel confused, worried about doing the wrong thing and, at worst, targeted by the club. We do not want fans to feel that way and we are committed to doing better.
We therefore thought it would be helpful to share some of our key objectives around ticketing, to explain some of the policies in more detail, and to clear up any misconceptions. We will also continue to work with our official fan representative groups, Fans’ Forum and Fans’ Advisory Board to listen to their feedback and to make any required changes to improve things for all fans.
In England and Wales it is illegal to sell, or to offer to sell, or transfer tickets to matches without the authorisation of the club. We’re committed to stopping this, and ensuring fans have a fair chance of buying tickets and attending matches.
Where this takes place for above the original value of the ticket it is commonly referred to as ‘ticket touting’.
At each match, we’re contacted by around 500 fans who have fallen victim to ‘ticket touts’ – often buying tickets at vastly inflated prices, and sometimes buying tickets that don’t exist. So far this season we’ve identified over 1,500 tickets being touted, and have cancelled them, meaning they are now available to our members.
This is achieved through a dedicated team who:
Target and shut down larger-scale touts (including some with access to over 50 tickets) Search for tickets listed through unofficial websites and social media Partner with authorities to remove posts / shut down illegal sites Access private social media groups where tickets are sold outside of authorised processes, including some for up to 15x face value Investigate reports made to our dedicated ticket touting email address [email protected] Conduct voluntary turnstile checks at Old Trafford. This has led to 150 tickets being sanctioned for selling at above face value, including to away fans in the home section.
Where we have evidence that a ticket has been resold for above face value, or advertised via unauthorised channels, we have historically emailed the ticket holder to inform them that an immediate precautionary suspension has been applied to their ticket.
Listening to your feedback, we’re changing the process with immediate effect and will now be:
Asking the fan for their observations to the potential breach prior to any decision / sanction being made Introducing a reminder letter (outlining the authorised ways to use / share a ticket) where tickets are proven to have been sold / advertised at face value. This replaces the current one-year suspension and reflects our approach to focussing on above face value touting
Our robust appeals process, which includes an appeals panel with independent representation, will continue to ensure we have fair and consistent outcomes.
MINIMUM USE OF A SEASON TICKET
One of our aims is to always have a full and loud Old Trafford. Each game is sold out yet often there are a number of unused seats. This not only impacts the atmosphere but is also frustrating for the thousands of members who cannot get a ticket.
To address this, we introduced a minimum ticket use of 10/19 Premier League home games this season to retain your option to renew your season ticket. We believe if you are not using it for at least 50% of the games then a Season Ticket isn’t the correct option for you and it is preventing another fan from attending games.
‘Using it’ includes:
Forwarding to another member, Returning it to us for a full refund, or Donating it to the Manchester United Foundation.
Additionally, for concessionary season tickets, the holder must personally attend at least 10 home league games to remain the primary user of the ticket and keep the concessionary discount for the following season. We are reviewing this element of the policy ahead of next season and will communicate any change in approach in the new year.
We know life can sometimes be unpredictable, and things happen that may prevent you from meeting the criteria – if this is the case, please get in touch and we can discuss it together.
To help fans keep track of their attendance, we emailed season ticket holders after the first 3 matches highlighting what our data told us and several of you informed us our records were incorrect. As checking for attendance on CCTV is a manual process, our teams were looking for something visible to help speed up the process of identification and some fans were asked if they could provide details of what they were wearing. We understand how that could have landed badly and for clarity we will not be asking fans this again. In future if issues arise, we may ask for a copy of your photo ID to help verify attendance and keep records accurate.
Starting now, we will only email fans when they have not used their ticket for 3, 6 and 9 games to ensure they are aware they are approaching the limit. Fans who have used their ticket (including the 3 options listed above) will not receive regular updates regarding this.
RESELLING OF HOME TICKETS BY THE CLUB
To cater for all fans, we now show the full range of home tickets, including hospitality, available on our main ticketing page.
We have been asked why some areas such as blocks N1404 & N1405 have been on sale at hospitality prices. These seats do include hospitality , normally at one of our off-site partners such as Lancashire Cricket Club or Victoria Warehouse, or in our museum. We sometimes utilise different seats for these packages and recently it has been queried why we have released tickets in East Stand Tier 2 for Barcelona hospitality packages. This is because we used over 1,500 hospitality seats to accommodate season ticket holders who were required to move for this fixture (e.g. due to UEFA and away ticket allocations), and we prioritised their seat location over those purchasing hospitality.
We are working with our ticketing system provider to make it even clearer which tickets include hospitality, and which are general admission, but for clarity all tickets over £58 will include some form of hospitality.
The allocation set aside for hospitality tickets has not been exceeded for any game this season and any tickets we receive as part of the buyback scheme will always be re-sold at the original price.
We are proud to have the best away following in the Premier League. The challenge we face is over 9,000 fans apply for away tickets from an average allocation of 2,800, leaving thousands of fans disappointed.
Large numbers of supporters contact us to complain at their lack of success in away ballots and cite fans who are successful passing on their tickets to fans who aren’t eligible season ticket holders. To try and ensure as many tickets as possible go to eligible supporters we have:
Introduced an official forwarding system where ticket holders who cannot personally attend the game can transfer their away ticket to another eligible season ticket holder. (We know fans have swapped and shared away tickets amongst their community of friends for many years and this can still be done via the forwarding system) Allowed ticket holders to return their tickets to MUFC for a full refund so we can resell the ticket to another fan Continued to fight for the maximum allocations as recently shown when we successfully got an increase from 1,500 to 2,370 tickets for the away game at Chelsea. Implemented ticket collections (with ID) at numerous away games at collection points close to the away end.
We know there are mixed views on ticket collections, however the data shows over 40% choose to cancel or forward their ticket, or not collect it at all when asked to collect with ID. We also see a large drop in the number of applications during periods where we conduct collections, increasing success rates for those who do apply.
There is no perfect solution to allocating away tickets. Our intention is to work with official fan groups and our Fans’ Forum to make sure we have a fair system which rewards loyalty, is easy to use, and doesn’t negatively impact your away day experience.
Work continues with a sub-group of our Fans’ Forum to look at the fairest way to:
Allocate returned tickets Manage collections Make any reforms to how we allocate away tickets
We will update you once these discussions have progressed and ahead of any changes being made. For any significant policy changes we will always give one-years advance warning.
We hope this has provided much needed context and clarity to some of our ticketing policies. Should you have any suggestions or feedback please contact your Fans' Forum representative or email [email protected]
Thank you again for your continued support.
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