Thursday, May 30, 2024

Arsenal reveal new measures to combat bot traffic and ticket touts

Football club does well on the pitch. Tickets to watch said club become harder to come by.

It’s not a new phenomenon but Arsenal supporters have noticed in the last couple of years that the process of buying a ticket via official means has become increasingly difficult for silver members and nigh-on impossible for those with a red membership.

Adding to the frustration of those who visit the club’s ticket portal during their designated time slot only to find none are available, has been the apparent prevalence of exorbitantly priced tickets on third-party sites.

While the launch and subsequent improvements to the Arsenal Ticket Exchange have been welcomed – providing, as it does, a safe and secure place for members to exchange and acquire tickets – such is the excitement surrounding Mikel Arteta’s team that ticket holders, more often than not, are turning up week in, week out. What’s more, spares that are listed are snapped up almost immediately by eagle-eyed members.

In some cases, opportunists looking to make a quick buck, are listing them elsewhere; a key factor in some ending up on the black market.

On the one hand, the return of sell-out crowds has been fantastic for the club. After all, the move to Emirates Stadium was driven by the prospect of a consistent increase in matchday revenue.

On the other, it’s as if the club have been blindsided by the increase in demand. Touting is an age-old problem but it really comes to the fore when your club is doing well. Now thousands of unhappy, loyal members claim they aren’t getting value for money from their annual fee (why pay for silver over red if tickets are impossible to get on both?) and it’s a headache all of its own.

With that in mind, the club have been working with supporter groups to better understand the various gripes while also investing in manpower and technological improvements to safeguard against touts and bot traffic.

These include:

– Users will be banned immediately if there’s sufficient proof of illegal activity.

– Tickets purchased where unusual behaviour is detected will be held for collection where the purchaser must produce ID to obtain them.

– Season ticket holders could have their IDs checked to ensure the right person is using the ticket.

– Ticketing staff are being sent to away games in greater numbers to check the ID of those collecting tickets.

– New technology is being used to block email addresses / payment cards associated with accounts previously blocked for touting.

– New bot-detecting technology has been implemented on the ticket hub and 25,000 IP addresses have been blocked for suspicious activity in recent weeks.

While the club is threatening to cancel the membership of any Arsenal member found to be touting, it sounds like a game of ‘whack a mole’ with nefarious individuals / organisations simply re-registering further bogus accounts.

As things stand, we understand there to be 42,000 gold members (season ticket holders), 30,000 silver members and more than 200,000 red members. We’re not sure about the number of platinum members, but it’ll be small in comparison.

The final message from the club is simple – buying tickets through unofficial means is a dangerous game. Anyone doing so “runs the risk of being denied access to the match, paying heavily inflated prices and receiving fake or duplicated tickets.”

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Feel free to share your feedback / air your frustration in the comment section below but don’t suggest increasing the capacity of Emirates Stadium; it’s neither happening nor possible!

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Jensen

I’ve managed to get to 2 games this season and another this Sat via the ticket exchange. Very lucky but did involve 10+ hours refreshing constantly! It’s not impossible just keep trying! Any way to prevent bots and touts is welcome!

Islamabad Gooner

Do you have a red or a silver membership? Wondering if it’s worth it now to buy a red or if there’s no point since red won’t be able to get it anyway?

I’ll be visiting London to catch a game next month

Eric

But if you don’t get red, you’ll never be a silver. I was a red way way back. Then moved away, and through all the years I’ve been away, I’ve kept paying, and now I’m back and on a silver membership.

TheLimpBar

Great the club are cracking down. I do worry a bit about the season ticket one though. I guess maybe some people ‘sell’ individual matches on their season tickets for a profit, which is plain wrong. However what about people who can’t make the odd game and want to let a friend or family member go? I hope there is some kind of transfer option to existing members. Also I have met a few people who share season tickets – people who could never afford to get a season ticket themselves but chip in with a few others and essentially… Read more »

GraeB

I agree that STH should be able to pass/sell at face value to family or friends. The club is quite happy to sell multiple season tickets to a single person so they can’t say that they’re going to restrict entry to actual buyer for all tickets! Often last minute issues have led to me having a spare ticket and no time for it to be sold back into the system. These rules may be fine in the good times but what about the poor times when there are no buyers for the re-sale system. The club need to guarantee buy-back… Read more »

GraeB

Yes but it has timing restrictions and no guarantee of sale.

TheLimpBar

That’s great.. I really should read my Arsenal correspondence with more care!

Okester

I’m a season ticket holder and there is an existing method of transferring/ sharing tickets with friends family. Tbh, it is open to abuse although I don’t know anyone who does abuse this. Myself and the group of supporters who sit near me will often offer each other the extra tickets if we can’t go for whatever reason. You’re able to transfer tickets digitally from one member to the other as long as they are part of your Arsenal network group. This is all done through the clubs official website/portal. Your card/ apple wallet ticket is blocked for the game… Read more »

mc1892

I’d not heard about changes to away points; how will the new system work?

Okester

My understanding they are looking at awarding points for home fixture attendance as opposed to the 3k-6k that get awarded points for away attendance.

Kris

Agree on all this. The fundamental approach of the club has to targeted at killing touting and the best way they’ll do that is by maximising the opportunities granted to the wider verified fan base. At home games this might mean a bit of pain using the official transfer systems and having to produce ID occasionally, but we all know the real abuse is the away points system where it is absolutely impossible for anyone but an extremely select group to purchase a ticket. This creates a vicious circle whereby this select group has to buy up all tickets to… Read more »

Mikolaj

Oh indeed, having spent hours looking for a single ticket for United, Brentford and city games without a success. It’s been really tough to get one and preparation of a visit from Poland is not instant.

Good to know users using bots or cheating are getting banned.

David Teddy

Yes, Its been really frustrating, we could not find single ticket in Exchange and pair, I heared there are some people running automation to get the tickets on to their basket, is that possible I hope, as earlier my friends used to purchase the tickets in Ticket Exchange, but now its not at all possible. Is the automation story is true , even I have started to belive now some people are running automation.

Simmo

I’m a Silver Member. Logged into the official club site the other day to try and get a ticket for the Leeds match. Logged in before 10am on the morning they went on sale. At 10am I got a message saying I was in a queue and there was a 35 minute wait. At 10.11am a message came up saying tickets were sold out!! 11 minutes for all silver member tickets to be sold out. Somethings not right so good to hear the club are taking action, albeit a bit late in the day. Let’s hope it works.

P.D.

I have a Silver too. Logged in at the same time as my mate who is also Silver. We always both try & whoever gets in first buys the tickets. He had tickets found & bought while I was still in the queue being told I still had 7 minutes to wait to get in ! So God knows how it works. This season is by a huge distance the hardest it has been for me to get tickets in all my time as Silver….and I have been one since day one. (I can’t remember exactly when it started –… Read more »

Old bloke

Been a member over 20 years and have always been able to get a ticket if I applied as soon as they came on sale including the great final few seasons at Highbury. Attended plenty of games this season including Liverpool, spuds and utd but from the Bournemouth game onwards no luck even though I applied as normal. Whats really annoying is a seat shows as available but when you click on it they say they cannot process your application, also had the same problems on ticket exchange. I rang the ticket office and they said it was due to… Read more »

AusGunner

I’m sure the club are aware but I wonder if fans are, that American Express, through their ‘concierge’ service, make tickets to the Premier League available to their ‘high value’ (richest) customers. It seems that they (Amex) basically buy a ticket from a season ticket holding fans and sell them (at huge cost) to those who want and can afford and access them. Buyer might have to send the ticket back to Amex/the season ticket holder in the post. It’s kind of amazing, basically scalping but done by a huge multinational company. It never really seems to come up in… Read more »

Kris

The question you might legitimately ask about this is to what extent the club are actually involved and profit from this. I find it extremely dubious that Amex really have season ticket holder relationships whereby season tickets are going back and forth in the post. Far more likely a proportion of tickets get given to corporates by the club, who take a share of the sales income. I expect given the price point that a lot of the tickets from these sort of schemes are in platinum, which I’m not aware sold out in terms of season tickets (though it… Read more »

Jasonissimo

Exactly this. Those tickets are allocated by the clubs, not through season ticket holders. It might even be the premier league that has the relationship with Amex. Can’t be bothered to check that. Doesn’t matter. Amex is not sourcing tickets from ticket-holding fans.

Nelson Vivas

And yet every time I walk past Arsenal tube station there are touts buying and selling within twenty yards of the police. I don’t understand why nothing is done about them?

GraeB

Touts operate very cleverly and separate the sales from the purchases – much like The Wire!

A Different George

Isn’t Marlo our centre forward?

Jo Elster

at the same time they have severally limiting tickets for international fan clubs, especially the larger once that’s had substantial allocations for decades, creating an even larger demand for ill-gotten tickets.

Andy brown

The club is paying lip service. I put my sons ticket on ticket exchange. I asked the bloke who came to the game how he had got the ticket. He bought it from whoever bought it from TX for £300. I emailed the club twice without any reply.

Alan

My mate had exactly the same thing happen. Club didn’t reply then either

Antoni

It’s a real plague, there has to be a better way of handling ticket sales. At the moment there’s a cottage industry of software developers selling bots specifically tailored to the Arsenal ticketing website (yours for just $2000), and clearly a number of absolute villains making bank off our club. Only two ways out of this really: strict ID checks (to the extent of biometrics linked to your membership card), or severe penalties. Strict ID checks would work, but only partially and at a cost to the honest fan. Nobody wants face recognition cameras at turnstiles and even worse queues… Read more »

Post January Blip

As a silver member, it’s hard for me to see how we’re being prioritised over red members at the moment, which is a source of frustration for many. Especially seeing as we pay more for our memberships.

My understanding is that there is a mandatory red allocation for each game, which is slightly different to how things used to work when I was a red member.

Perhaps the club needs to go back to releasing tickets to red after silver members have had a chance to buy theirs.

GraeB

Same issue as above though. It is easy and profitable for touts to have mass silver memberships and then prevent any Red availability.

Post January Blip

How would touts acquire mass silver memberships? You can’t purchase a silver membership like you can with red.

JamesG

This is true. The gold and silver memberships that are reselling to websites should be very easy to weed out because they cant be replaced (within 15 years at least). I’m guessing the bots that are hoovering up exchange tickets within seconds are probably using Red memberships which can be replaced by the touts/sites with ease.

Bradybunches

Totally agree regarding Silver membership. I have emailed various people in the club many times this season always being told that the problem was increased demand no mention of technical problems. Interesting that the Bot issue is highlighted before renewals are due to be made.
The issue hasn’t been helped by the quota change for Red members.
I am sure that using Ticketmaster doesn’t help the the Bots issue.
It is so frustrating when you have supported the team through the downs, then the ups, then the downs and not being able to share in the recent ups!

DublinGooner

Don’t tickets become available to Silver Members at least a couple of weeks before Red Members? I’ve been a Red Member for many years. Had an option to upgrade but didn’t take it because before this season, apart from NLD I never had any trouble getting tickets. This season I’ve only managed to get to the Forest game so far.

Post January Blip

Yes, the tickets are released ahead of the red membership. The issue is that the club sets aside 3500 tickets for red members for each game. I’m not sure silver members can join the red queue 2 weeks (or however long it is) later, so you get situations where a red member can get a ticket and you can’t. Not sure I have the answers but there’s definitely something broken.

Bradybunches

Yes you can apply when the Red allocation is released.

Allan Yeo

I’ve been a silver member for 25 years and never had an issue getting tickets for any game including category A games this year every time I’ve tried they have been sold out in 10 minutes even for the forest and palace game. As a silver member we all have cards that we access the stadium with surley it’s simple no card no access just stop printing tickets and make the membership use their cards

Boy Bastin

As there’s obviously no chance of increasing capacity Arsenal have to ensure the system is as fair and transparent as possible and these measures seem a good step forward to me.

Riku

Should have been a bigger stadium in first place 75k no problem..
( Probably tobdobwirh policing and tubes but still, could have been more ambitious)

malcolm alden

well, that makes it almost impossible for met to go to games now. not being from the UK will make it very difficult to purchase third party tickets. plus, no point becoming a season ticket holder and paying exorbitant prices so I might be able to watch Arsenal once or twice a season.

Master Floda

I’ve written software to detect and block bot traffic and click farming. It’s not trivial and therefore expensive. The club seems to genuinely care about their members, because from a pure financial point of view, I don’t think the cost of lost opportunity (members cancelling) is bigger than the investment.

JamesG

It seems like the club had the perfect mechanism to block touting when they introduced the membership cards in place of paper tickets? No card, no entry would mean that anyone selling their ticket on is limited to friends/family that they know and trust to return their card after the game. Surely removing access via QR codes on phones or printed out on paper will go a huge way towards sorting this issue. Anyone that has legitimately lost or misplaced their card can get a paper ticket from the box office before kick off with proper ID checks made. Am… Read more »

Oskar

It’s been driving me a bit mad lately, I had initially put it down to the success on the pitch and the fact it’s the hottest ‘show’ in town right now. But learning of the bot issue really does my head in, it’s impossible to get a ticket at the moment (first part of the season was easier) everything seems to be snapped up lightning quick and at this point my membership seems to be pretty useless. Hopefully new measures will improve things, fingers crossed

KennyG

I am a silver member and also a member of a local Arsenal supporters club. We have over the years raised substantial amounts for Arsenal charities and assisted the club in selling additional tickets when we have fallen well short of capacity. The club have relied on us to put bums on seats which we have happily done as it gives our members and friends a chance to attend games. Now that we are having a successful season the club are turning their backs on the supporters clubs. I pay my yearly subscription for my silver plus a membership fee… Read more »

sinclair

Pleased to read this and that others have told the club. I am a season ticket holder and been impossible to get by son red member cannon tickets – like others log in early – held in queue then all gone. I emailed the club and got a standard description of how to get tickets but no reply when said but that is not working. I’m hoping whatever action they take works. Its crazy being approached by touts every game.

Frank Emerson

The problem for 200,000 Red members is not that there are only 3,500 tickets available for 200,000 members. It’s that the club continues to sell unlimited memberships. So that 200.000 figure will be higher next season, higher the year after, higher the year after and so on.

Canadagoon

I’m hoping to come to the Emirates in October to see my first game in person after decades of 5/7am TV mornings. Now it sounds like a lost cause already, I don’t understand how someone coming from overseas is supposed to get tickets when buying a red membership means nothing because silvers cannot even get seats.

LEFT08

What a load of rubbish. I come all the way from the other side of Europe to watch 3-4 matches a year & I pay through the nose for my seat, but at least I know I’ll find a ticket on some site or other. Boasting about a worldwide fanbase and depriving them of the only access to tickets is either hypocritical or plain stupid.

Saint

My son joined as a Red Member this year hoping to get to a game, he’s heading over this weekend without a ticket.
Any suggestions where to go in the hope of picking one up last minute??

69

It’s all been said before but yet another pissed off holder of silver memberships for my son and myself. Managed to get 1 ticket all season. Latest debacle was Leeds – joined queue at 9.15, got in at 10.04 and the map simply would not load. Have written to the club in the past and got an auto response with the promise of a follow up which never came. Will certainly pursue this further and would urge everyone in the same situation to do so. As has been said, why have a card system (which in itself would sell out)… Read more »

Geepuz

It would be good if there was a consistent, committed, and sustained crack-down on the touts outside the ground, often in full view of the old bill. Pretty much every game, there’s some hapless tourist – big assumption on my part – following the tout as it scurries off behind the memorabilia stalls to no doubt fleece these casual punters. Am not criticising anybody who wants to see the Arsenal, except maybe that Scandinavian Man U fan who was there with his Gooner mate last month – but getting rid of the Stone Island Tout variety surely is one of… Read more »

LNKGunner

My family and I will be in London from America during the Wolves match. My 12 year old son is a Junior Gunner and I a Red member. This is likely the only chance we’ll ever get to watch our Gunners at the Emirates, but after tens of hours of research, I am not very hopeful we’ll get tickets when the JG window opens up. 🙁

Jasonissimo

I’m interested in the topic of ticket scalping generally. Best solution is very unpopular—raise prices. Seems like are maybe 12-15 silver and red members for every non-season ticket available, some of those will be red memberships of unauthorized resellers, but by the same token there is clearly more demand for single game tickets than is captured by club membership rolls,

So, raise prices closer to the going rates. The club gets the money instead of the scalpers. Fans who are willing to pay the higher price will get a ticket via official channels.

Carrie Bromage

I’ve been a silver member for 10 years, not had many problems getting tickets but this season has been very frustrating, I’ve attempted to get tickets for most home games, get on the website around 9:30am and wait (in)patiently to log on at 10am and when I do, I’m put in the queue with a wait of 30-45 minutes and the tickets sell out within 10 minutes. It’s great people are wanting to go to the Emirates and the atmosphere has been great to hear on TV but why am I paying £100 a year (me and my sister both… Read more »

steve

How much checking is done on the actual age of Junior Gunners? In the rare times I have managed to get a ticket for me and my son (silver member and JG) it is clear lots in the family enclosure are not below that age. How many are bought cheaper and sold on?

Bradybunches

Over sixties can also apply on their membership for this area.

David

Correct me if I’m wrong but from what I’ve read that the club is increasing season tickets with less games. Exactly how is this fair especially now that the team this season is performing so good after o many years outside of the champions league and best chance of winning the league.

Dial Square

The current setup is a total piss take. It’s almost impossible to get tickets for home games as a red member (and I’m 57000+ in the queue for a silver membership) – and no, I’m not talking about Europa League group stage tickets.

Unless you’re willing to pay for a club level seat on ticket exchange, you’re pretty much going to have to sit there and f5 – and when something pops up eventually, it’s you versus the ticket bot. Guess who wins?

Martin

Brentford Game:
Logged on 0930, got to front of queue 1021:
SOLD OUT

Crystal Palace:
Logged on 0905, got to front of queue 1026:
Message received saying “your session has expired”
Logged back in and got the “unable to load map” error message.
Noticed message on Webpage timed 1010 stating game SOLD OUT

Bradybunches

Logged on today at 10. I was held in a queue until 11 then let into the site to be told that the map will not load. The tickets had already sold out by 9.30.
The whole system is rubbish. I have been a Silver member since day one and have never had all this issues.

Raj Panjwani

Are there any fans who understand technology looking at this? I know enough to know that Arsenal’s site is full of security holes that a child could spot, e.g. if you get to a captcha page and you press skip it lets you through. You can log in with same account on multiple browsers. It’s a mess that doesn’t seem complicated to fix so I’m wondering why Arsenal isn’t fixing it. Something smells off to me. They either have a completely incompetent web agency or Arsenal are ware of ticket fixing and it benefits them in some way. Which is… Read more »

Armchairsupportercauseicantgetaticket

The whole phone system is absolute rubbish, I’ve had 5 phones on the go at one time and still no chance of getting through.
More needs to be done about touting, if you can only buy a ticket with a membership then it must be easy enough to find touts, doesn’t take a genius to check a ticket number on a selling site and locate the member? bring back going down the the box office

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