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Top Tips When Buying Sports Tickets

Dec 20, 2007
Buying sports tickets for major events, if not done right, can make the difference between having a good or bad time. Here are some of the pitfalls to watch out for when buying your tickets for several of the most popular sporting events in the UK.

The Ryder Cup

Always a fiercely fought competition, this bi-annual battle between the USA and Europe is always guaranteed to make ticket-locating a tough task. Some would say you have more chance finding a needle in a Belfry bunker.

Tickets for the Ryder Cup are sold from official outlets for all levels of admission, and access to the grandstands is not usually pre-allocated, but available on a first-come-first-served basis.

One way to ensure entry is to volunteer to work during the event. There are always positions available each time the tournament is played, and applications can be made directly through the official site.

Whatever you do, don't try sneaking onto the course. Security at this event is top-notch and you'll find yourself in jail until the first Judge becomes available on Monday morning.


Tickets for Wimbledon are not easy to get unless you are willing to pay upwards of two grand for a Debenture, but there are ways to ensure entry to the Centre Court short of being adopted by the Royal Family or Cliff Richard.

Because standard tickets are only released on the actual day of play, internet purchasing is often quite tough unless you want to gamble. But if you are prepared to, there is one excellent way of guaranteeing entry to a specific court.

And that is to queue from midnight the night before. We've all laughed at them lining up seven hours ahead to get their hands on tickets to see Agassi or Henman, but in reality, they know something about the system that works every time.

Early morning, a steward will guide the queue towards the gates where you will be asked what court you want. Depending on your answer, you will be given a colored wristband guaranteeing your ticket for a seat for the day. At the ticket booth you can put your sleeping bag away, and your ticket will be exchanged for the wristband for a fraction of what the All England Lawn Tennis Club charge a year in advance.

The FA Cup Final

The jewel in English football crown, this match is watched by 400 million people in 200 countries, a statistic that reinforces its popularity, and thus, the degree of difficulty involved in getting hold of a match ticket. Even with 71,200 general admission seats and 8,800 corporate and other seating, the chances of getting a ticket - with your club or not - are limited.

Most allocations are split down the middle between each club. This is your first opportunity, as many of these tickets go to supporters clubs before ending up on the Internet for greatly inflated prices. Watch out for forgeries though - you won't get your money back and you will pay over the asking price.

The remaining tickets go to other member clubs, the press, players, and sponsors, and it is here it could be possible to get hold of a ticket providing you know somebody who works in the stadium or an associated sponsor company.

Your only other alternative is to offer your services as a ball boy/girl, but if you are a 40-year old pot-bellied Chelsea fan, you might be a little easy to spot!

British Grand Prix

Tickets for the world famous Formula One racing track at Silverstone are thankfully much easer to bag, though none of them come cheap. Official tickets start at around £100 for the three-day package, or £40 for a day ticket.

Buying early is really your only option as Silverstone is one of the most sought after, and fast-booking events on the UK sporting calendar.

You could of course try an auction site, but another way of bagging tickets is to convince your boss to take important clients out for the day. Hospitality packages start at around £900, for which you'll get a gourmet meal, champagne, and the best view of Lewis Hamilton racing around the Copse. Any clients you take along will remember you and your company forever.

The Six Nations Championship

Most tickets for rugby internationals are dealt with by the individual bodies from each of the countries involved, so being a member of a rugby club puts you at the head of the queue. It also means you can buy tickets from any of the unions no matter whom you support or where you are from.

But what if you don't play or support rugby?

The one thing to remember about rugby is that supporters are generally quite friendly, hence the non-segregation policy in all of the stadia. This international jolliness has helped pushed ticket touts out of the picture, but not genuine sellers.

Most people offering tickets on the street before a game are usually only trying to recoup their money, not tout, so it is at this point you may be able to get hold of a ticket for equal to or less than face value.
About the Author
This article was written by Bret Robson for Viagogo.co.uk, a leading European ticket hub. Viagogo connects buyers and sellers of tickets, concert tickets, theatre tickets and more. Viagogo also guarantees all the transactions, so if you are looking for tickets online, Viagogo is the place to go!
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