Ed Sheeran Promoter Apologizes After ‘Ethical Reselling’ Plan Backfires

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Kilimanjaro Live has directly apologized to Ed Sheeran fans over complaints about ‘ethical’ ticket resells.

What started as an ‘ethical’ effort quickly went sour — with some fans holding a very expensive bag.

The problem started with a plan to divert ticketing resales into a ‘fan-to-fan exchange,’ thereby sidestepping aftermarket sites.  As part of a plan designed by UK-based promoter Kilimanjaro Live, fans with a surplus of Sheeran tickets to sell were allowed to use fan-to-fan ticket exchanges.

Tickets could be sold at face value, plus a 10% resale fee. But the resale system, which disallowed any reduction in price or resale cost, has left a number of fans complaining. Fans simply couldn’t waive the 10% markup fee, even though primary tickets didn’t have the fee, so many tickets remained unsold.

As a result of the effort, most secondary sites weren’t listing tickets to Sheeran’s shows, though Viagogo is the only ticket reseller that refused to comply. Among other complaints, Viagogo has been accused of posting tickets that were either non-existent or otherwise invalid.

A spokesperson from Kilimanjaro says they’ve always tried to accommodate genuine fans.

“From the outset we have tried to find a way to be fair to fans, to facilitate the ethical resale of tickets and to leave as many fans as happy as possible whilst preventing the daily horror stories of them being ripped off by ticket touts profiting from the panic to get a ticket to see Ed. We have undoubtedly had a huge impact here,” the company told The Guardian.

“An Ed Sheeran ticket on this tour costs around £85 to £90”, they added, “and that’s a price point that we have set all along – and one that industry stats suggest as being of really good value for the size of venues on this tour.”

(£85 is roughly equivalent to $103.)

Other problems also emerged.  For example, ticket holders in the past have been asked to present the credit card used to buy the tickets. But some fans receive tickets as gifts or as last-minute changes of plans. The idea of ethical ticket selling runs into problems when the original buyer can’t attend the show.

All tickets sold are non-refundable, which is the crux of the issue.  Even fans who don’t want to participate in the reseller market may do so to try and recoup costs from a non-refundable ticket — with willing buyers on the other side.