LEGENDARY heavy metal stars Iron Maiden are backing a Wearside MP’s bid to stamp out unscrupulous ticket touts.
The iconic band have voiced their support for Sharon Hodgson, whose Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill will be debated in Parliament today.
It was sparked by the growing problem of individuals or gangs buying up large numbers of tickets – sometimes using networks of infected computers, known as botnets – to sell on at vastly-inflated prices.
Must-have tickets to see Take That at the Stadium of Light this summer were snapped up for their £55 face value, only to appear on internet auction sites for up to £1,000 a pair soon after.
Mrs Hodgson’s proposal would make unauthorised retailers face large fines if they advertised or sold tickets 10 per cent above the face value.
Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood said he was “delighted” the Washington and Sunderland West MP’s bill has been tabled.
“Something really has to be done about the plague of secondary ticketing.
“This is becoming a blight on anything and everything which involves people genuinely wishing to buy tickets at the intended price for popular events, be it music, sport or theatre.
“The number of face-value tickets available to real fans is greatly diminished by rampant buying and then selling greatly over the odds.
“When Iron Maiden tickets went on sale late last year for an extensive arena tour of the UK this summer, thousands upon thousands of tickets at much higher average prices than face value appeared across these secondary sites within days.
“Do they really expect us to believe that even a small number of these were bought by people who suddenly – the day after they bought the ticket – found they couldn’t go to a concert some nine months away? Pull the other one.
“It is sheer piracy and must be stopped to protect the real fans and the performers.”
Mrs Hodgson’s Private Member’s bill, which has reached the second reading stage in the House of Commons, is also backed by Arctic Monkeys manager Ian McAndrew; Festival Republic which has run Reading Festival since 1989; See Tickets; the Sport and Recreation Alliance and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Mrs Hodgson said: “This support shows the recognition that touting is a major problem, not just for fans who are forced to pay way over the odds, but also to the industry itself.
“I hope that this support will add to the calls on the Government to do something about this, and ensure that fans and the industry get a fair deal.”
* For details of how to support the bill, visit www.sharonhodgson.org/ticket-touting-private-members-bill.