Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Autumn International Tickets

Got your tickets for England versus Australia yet? Or Wales versus New Zealand? If so, where did you buy them?

Officially one should only buy test rugby international tickets via official distribution channels - which essentially means you should get them direct from the host union. The only problem is that these are not usually offered for general sale - rather they are first offered to debenture holders, then to schools and clubs. So if you don't fall into one of these categories, you're unlikely to get the chance of buying tickets.

Unless of course you get them from that bloke you know down at the pub, or from internet sites like eBay or GetMeIn. There's a lively trade in tickets in this kind of black market environment, and yes there are still tickets available for the Autumn Internationals (I checked). Naturally you need to be prepared to pay at least three to four times face value (and once you've recovered from that shock, seeing the additional booking fees at check-out is enough to start that vein in your forehead throbbing all over again!).

Ticket terms and conditions

If you do decide to hock your grandma and buy from a tout, make sure you do it with your eyes open. Firstly, realise that it's against the tickets' terms and conditions for them to be resold for more than face value, if at all. If the relevant rugby union somehow finds out, they could nullify the tickets and refuse you entry to the ground. In that case your only recourse would be to chase the individual who sold you the tickets in the first place, even if it was via a middle man - all I can say is: good luck with that.

Something else to watch out for is that an unscrupulous seller could sell you a legitimate ticket, then report it as lost or stolen and get a replacement issued. Your ticket will then be cancelled and you'll be left kicking yourself in the parking lot while your seller watches the players kicking each other on the field. Guess who'll be buying the drinks after the match?

Of course, this is a worst-case scenario - I'm sure most such transactions work out just fine. It's just a pity that the current system creates such a fertile breeding ground in which the touts can flourish and prey upon the enthusiasm that genuine supporters have for the game and for following their team.

What can you do?

You could try joining a club that gets an allocation of tickets, although there's no guarantee even then that you'll be able to get your hands on any. Or you could do what I'll be doing and catch all the action (including a close-up view of the action and slow motion replays) on TV:

  • One month Sky Sports subscription: £45

  • Beer and buffalo wings: £20

  • Not freezing your butt off in the wind and rain for 2 hours: Priceless

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