Zug, 29.05.2019

Up to CHF 1,600 for two seats

Tickets for the Federal Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Festival in Zug are being offered on the www.ricardo.ch platform, frequently at hugely over-inflated prices. The organisation committee president Heinz Tännler has condemned this in the strongest terms - and has announced measures.

The frustration of Heinz Tännler, President of the organisation committee of the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Festival (Esaf), is great. "Demanding 1,600 francs for two seats is simply usury," he says. Tännler is referring to an advertisement for top-class tickets on the online portal www.ricardo.ch. This seller has placed several advertisements, with prices for one or two seats between 150 and 1,600 francs – a huge amount for attending the festival from 23 to 25 August 2019. To the annoyance of the organisers, ticket holders have tried to sell their tickets on the black market "at completely inflated prices" in the last few days, announced the Esaf organisation committee yesterday. It condemns this approach sharply, and reserves the right to take actions against such sellers.

"I am very sorry about this. This was not our intention at all, and we apologise to all fans of Swiss wrestling," Unfortunately, this cannot be completely prevented. “Other organisations are also struggling with the same issues. For their own profit, such people take the seats away from real fans." Ticketing a major event is always a challenge, adds Tännler on request, "So it's not a big surprise, we had to expect it." It’s simply "terribly annoying" that even people from Zug who obtained their tickets at normal prices in a municipal or cantonal raffle now want to sell them at an inflated price. "For reasons of goodwill, we decided to use raffles to give more people the chance to get a ticket. Now there’s a risk that the next organiser won’t do this anymore, and local people would suffer. There are only a handful of ads so far - it's a minority that are behaving unfairly," says Tännler.

OK reserves the right to block tickets

The general ticket regulations state: “The resale of, or the trade in tickets at the non-official price is strictly prohibited. Any tickets acquired in this way will lose their validity. The right to block the corresponding tickets without a refund on suspicion of this is reserved." The organisation committee president adds:" We reserve the right to invalidate such tickets, i.e. buyers of such tickets must expect their place in the arena to be occupied." Heinz Tännler therefore strongly discourages potential buyers from making such purchases. But aren’t the wrong people being punished? Tännler answers: "We have no other choice. Anyone who is offered a ticket for over 1,000 francs should realise that something is wrong."

But the organisers also intend to approach the Ricardo.ch company. They will contact the sellers and reserve the right to prosecute those who are identified. "Whether we can get the information we need is currently open," says Tännler. One solution would be personalised tickets, as have already introduced for certain open airs in Switzerland. "We also considered this system," says the OC President, "but the necessary ID checks would lead to a huge administrative effort." That's why they decided against it.

The demand for the tickets is enormous

Simon Marquard, Head of Communications & Marketplaces at Tamedia, who are responsible for Ricardo.ch, considers the situation "not dramatic". He says on request: "There are currently 11 offers available. It's still within manageable limits." The price of 1,600 francs for two tickets is not the norm, adds Marquard. "Experience has shown that the prices move within a framework that is acceptable. Demand ultimately determines the price. "If Ricardo.ch finds that the tickets on the platform are being sold commercially, it could demand proof that the seller is entitled to do so and, if this is not the case, block the seller." The resale of non-personalised tickets is legally permitted. The concerns of the Esaf-OK will be taken seriously, however, and the situation will be reviewed, "but, for privacy law reasons, we cannot simply pass on user data."
The run on public sale tickets was huge on May 24th. More than 50,000 people registered over 180,000 ticket requests on the Ticket-Corner platform, which offers 4,000 tickets. The winners will be informed directly by June 7, 2019.

This seller has set a high price for tickets on the online marketplace www.ricardo.ch. (Image: Stefan Kaiser, Zug, May 28, 2019)