The fears of Rugby World Cup organisers look like being realised as demand and prices for tickets on secondary ticketing websites have soared to record levels.
Some tickets for England's pool match against Australia were being offered on Monday morning with a 2, 665% price mark-up, only 48 hours after the tournament organisers confirmed the ballot allocations following the general sale which left the majority of supporters missing out on their original applications.
A total of five million applications were made during the sale of tickets last month with a total of 950, 000 sold, with England 2015 revealing that ticket demand had exceeded supply for 23 of the tournament’s 48 games in the lowest price category.
All available tickets were sold for all four England pool matches and their potential knockout ties. The biggest demand was for the hosts’ crunch clash against Australia, with applications for 650, 000 tickets. Considering only around 20, 000 for the encounter at the 82, 000-seat Twickenham were put on general sale, that meant demand outstripped supply by a factor of 30.
This has led to tickets being sold at hugely inflated prices on secondary websites. Tickets worth £75 (category D tickets - the cheapest adult seats) to see England play the Wallabies are being sold at a lowest price of £627 on Seatwave, rising to £1, 999, more than 26 times their face value.
Viagogo confirmed that England v Australia was currently the most in-demand match on their site, followed by France against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium and England’s match against Fiji.
Tickets for the semi-finals and final are also being offered at enormous mark-ups, with Category D tickets for semi-final 1 worth £125 being sold for up to £1, 999 on Seatwave, and Category A tickets worth £515 for the same match being sold for £7, 080 on Stubhub.
The cheapest tickets for the final being sold on the secondary market are to be found on GoRugbyWorldCup - at £1235, more than eight times the face value of £125. There were applications for 500, 000 tickets for the final in the official ballot.
World Cup organisers had appealed to the Government to make the resale of tickets illegal, as was the case for London 2012. However that was rejected, and it is now feared that ticket touts and criminal gangs will hold ordinary supporters to ransom by selling tickets for hugely inflated prices on the secondary market.
Several Ticket exchange websites are advertising thousands of tickets for the tournament. One such website, Viagogo, recorded a surge in interest of 72 per cent for World Cup tickets on Sunday.
Viagogo confirmed on Sunday it had registered more than 3.2 million ticket searches in just 24 hours on its 50 global websites after supporters found out on Saturday whether or not their ticket application had been successful.
The company reported that tickets had been purchased as far afield as Fiji, who face England in the opening game of the tournament.
“RWC 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most in-demand events of all time, based on ticket searches we’re seeing on our site, ” said a Viagogo spokesman.
“The good news for rugby fans is that they can still get tickets on Viagogo, with prices currently starting from £60 and tickets for England’s opening match against Fiji available from £250.