Surely somewhere in the maze of secondary ticket sales, there is a way for that money to end up in grass roots rugby.
Our club like many have few real bonuses for people who join us as members, one of the big ones of course is the potential to apply for 6 nations and Autumn international Tickets. If you are lucky and maybe score a pair of tickets for Eng V New Zealand you really have hit the jack pot, the next visit by the All Blacks will determine if England really are as good as some say, it’s gonna be a huge day, a complete sell out and we will see tickets on the market for £1000 each and more. Anyone who receives tickets from us, as with most clubs have it explained the potential problems the club will face if our tickets end up in the wrong hands… penalties are high, the club may lose future ticket allocations and maybe more importantly the club reputation will be damaged.
It’s not a problem we’ve ever had, and hopefully never will. However when I see people prepared to pay £1000 a ticket it does make me wonder, if you really are prepared to spend that on one match, why would you not approach your local club and offer to sponsor them. I’m not suggesting you can just buy tickets, many clubs have very strict and open processes to ensure that tickets go to the fans who play every week and deserve a chance to watch England at HQ but it is understood that local sponsorship is important to small clubs and the RFU recognise this and allow clubs to use tickets to support this, with restrictions.
“So why spend 1000s putting money in a touts pocket when you could do some real good with a club in need”
If you are a bonafide sponsor, putting money into grass roots and actively supporting a club, there may be an opportunity to agree a small allocation as part of your deal. So why spend 1000s putting money in a touts pocket when you could do some real good with a club in need. Sponsoring a club just to get a pair of tickets isn’t a great plan. Clubs want sponsors who are engaged and supportive, not someone who calls once a year to pick up their envelope. Clubs can’t guarantee tickets, but, if you stop paying £1000s to online ticket sites and use that money to support your local club, you might just be surprised how rewarding it can be. You’ll probably be sponsoring the club for a year before you get the chance, so ringing up a club a week before kick off and asking to do a “sponsorship deal’ would be pointless.
Our club want our members and supporters to benefit from the small allocation we get and I think most clubs will see it as duty to ensure tickets go to the most deserving, it’s a pride thing. Few will be interested in a flash guy flashing the cash and basically assuming he can buy tickets. Clubs are not touts, clubs have no desire in stopping members going to twickenham so they can make a fast buck. We want to ensure tickets go to those who love the game and love our club and we will always do that. If you do gain a pair of tickets through sponsorship, it’s quite a responsibility, you hold our club in your hands. If your plan is to try and sell them for profit, you could severely damage the club, if you cant use them but pass them to a friend or client…and they try to sell them, the club gets hurt just as much. They are amazing and terrifying at the same time when we think of the potential damage.
…..it’s precious, it’s tickets that a member has given up so the club can have your sponsorship, it’s a clubs reputation
So, you can’t just buy tickets from a club for 100s and a wink, almost every club will just laugh at you, it’ll be worth a few hundred quid to a true rugby fan to tell you to sling your hook. What you can do, is take a moment to look at your local club and see how you can help, we’re not idiots, you can let us know that Tickets are a priority but mainly do it because you want to help, because you can help. If you put into a grass roots club, allowing them to buy new kit, balls, help with running costs etc. Then why shouldn’t you get a little reward, you should be proud to tell people who ask that you get tickets by supporting your local club, but just understand that it’s precious, it’s tickets a member has given up so the club can have your sponsorship and the help it brings, it’s a clubs reputation and relationship with the RFU.
I can’t speak to what clubs do with their tickets, our sponsors are actually long standing members, so nothing in this article is suggestive of any existing or potential deal nor do I want to suggest that it is possible for anyone to “buy tickets” from clubs, it’s not and please don’t contact your local club to ask. The point is, however it happens, whatever you agree with your local club, if you are thinking you will be happy to pay £2000 for a pair of Eng v NZ tickets to a tout, why not explore what they can do with that money and maybe, just maybe, they might be able to help you with a pair of tickets now and again.
..of course, you should go and become a member of your local club anyway, playing or non-playing, you’ll be in the ballot and you never know, it’s a great way for clubs to reward members and for you to help your local club.