Opinion: Did Peter Kay Beat The Touts?

In case you've been living in a cave without wi-fi you probably know that Peter Kay is going on tour next year whether you want to know or not. He told us on Tonight with Jonathan Ross and on Strictly Come Dancing over the weekend and would have probably plugged his shows on Newsnight if he had half a chance.

The tickets went on sale at 10am on Sunday. And, surprise, surprise, websites went into meltdown with tickets soon appearing on secondary sales sites at big prices. Not a shock given that his last tour was eight years ago and he played back then to a record 1.2 million people.

But Kay had a few tricks up his sleeve for disappointed punters thinking of taking out a mortgage to buy tickets. More dates were announced, hitting the secondary sales market for six. And then even more dates were announced, knocking anyone hoping to make a killing out of the park.

The tour that started with 26 shows is now taking in around a hundred shows, although none in England south west of Birmingham. Maybe he has shares in a coach trip company.

I don't know if this drip-feed on dates was done to keep prices down. If he had wanted to do that why didn't he do the same thing that Flight of the Conchords did when they added extra dates. In an effort to thwart reselling at higher prices, the new batch of tickets that went on sale for the Kiwi twosome were no longer transferrable – the purchaser must now show a photo ID to pick up tickets they’ve purchased online.

It has been suggested that Kay or his promoters did this to generate interest in his shows. The dates must surely have already been pencilled in. I doubt if Kay got on the phone to the 02 on Sunday at 10.30am to ask if they had any slots going spare.  If there's one thing to make comedy fans want tickets for a gig it's not being able to get tickets for a gig.

But the effect has hopefully been to dampen down the secondary sales market. I've just checked. On Sunday morning websites were selling tickets for £495 soon after 10am. At the moment (Monday evening) there are tickets listed for the 02 Arena on Stubhub for £55, which, it says, is face value.

So perhaps that's a lesson for future mega-tours. Hold back the announcement of some shows to give fans a second or third bite at face value tickets. Maybe at the same time this will make it a riskier business for whoever is snapping up tickets to re-sell them at a profit.

Try for face value Peter Kay gigs here.


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