Ed Sheeran’s manager has told a jury how they decided to take a stand against the resale of tickets at “absurd” prices after spotting £75 seats for a charity gig on sale for £7,000.
Stuart Camp was giving evidence on Thursday in the trial of two men alleged to have sold millions of pounds of tickets for a range of top events harvested from official sellers using computer bots and fake identities.
Mr Camp told the jury at Leeds Crown Court he decided to try and stamp out the resale of Sheeran’s concert tickets after seeing how they were resold for his March 2017 Royal Albert Hall gig in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.
He said Sheeran performed at the event for nothing and the tickets were £75 plus a booking fee, but he saw some going for £7,000 on the secondary ticketing site Viagogo.
Mr Camp said: “I bet none was donated to charity. This is absurd.
“We just really wanted to make sure we weren’t in that situation again.”
He explained how he put a no resale clause in the terms and conditions of the tickets sold for the stadium leg of Sheeran’s worldwide ÷ (Divide) tour.
He told the jury the tour was the biggest grossing ever and was seen by more than nine million people across the globe at around 260 shows.
Mr Camp said he wrote to the big four secondary tickets site informing them of the change and three complied. He said Viagogo “ignored it straight away”.
He said Sheeran tickets are cheaper than for most international acts, like U2 and Taylor Swift, with £50 and £75 being normal prices.
He said: “Our theory is that we want everybody to be able to come to a show.
“We’d rather put on a million more shows for a lower price.
“I’d rather keep people happy and people saying ‘you know what, we’ll do that again some time’.”
The manager told the jury that people who arrived at gigs with tickets bought on secondary ticketing sites would often be offered an official ticket at face value, and then helped to claim back the money from the site where they bought the invalid ticket.
Mr Camp was giving evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial of Peter Hunter and David Smith – who traded as Ticket Wiz and BZZ.
Hunter and Smith deny fraudulent trading relating to tickets to see top acts like Sheeran, big sporting events, the Chelsea Flower Show and West End shows like Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
Opening the prosecution case last month, Jonathan Sandiford said the pair used computer software, including bots, which allowed them to make multiple applications to primary ticket selling sites, including Ticketmaster, posing as individuals and hiding their true identities.
Mr Sandiford said that between June 2015 and December 2017, they spent more than £4 million buying tickets from primary ticket sites and sold £10.8 million of tickets on secondary sites.
Hunter, 51, and Smith, 56, both of Crossfield Road, north London, deny fraudulent trading and possessing an article for fraud.