The Guardian’s Barney Ronay wrote an excellent article this week about ticket scalpers at Euro 2008. While in Zurich, I didn’t see one scalper. But the minute I walked off the train in Bern on the day of the Holland against Italy match, there were scalpers everywhere.
That day, I probably saw about 20-30 different scalpers. As Ronay said in his article, none of the police bothered the scalpers so they were free to roam the street soliciting people for tickets. There was a dozen of them roaming around the train station. One of my favorites was the bloke wearing a “I Love Soccer Moms” T-Shirt.
Along the journey to the stadium, we walked past supporters haggling with scalpers regarding ticket prices. Several of the discussions became quite heated over the veracity of the tickets and whether they were legitimate tickets or not. I’m by no means an expert on ticket scalping, but I was curious about the scalpers who were handing their potential customers cellphones. I’m not sure whether this was for them to call to confirm that the tickets were real or not, but it seemed an unusual way to do business.
About three hours before the match was scheduled to begin, scalpers were offering 750 Swiss Francs (equivalent of $750) for tickets. The face value of the tickets was $130 (at least mine was). Goodness knows how much the $750 price increased by as it got closer to kick-off time.