Ticketing General Terms and Conditions for a Sporting Event

If you attend any kind of sporting event whether this is on a national or a worldwide basis then there are many general terms and conditions that you will be subject to.

These will often be produced in a short form on the back of the physical ticket and in a longer form at the place of purchase which is more often than not the website which you purchase the ticket from. In every case when you purchase a ticket for a sporting event online you will be required to state that you agree to the ticketing general terms and conditions before you are able to purchase the ticket.

What is included in the General Ticketing Terms and Conditions for a sporting event?

The key provisions which are included in ticketing terms and conditions are as follows:

  • Entry to the stadium
  • Limitation on transferring the ticket
  • Sound and image recordings
  • Ambush marketing and other marketing activities
  • Acceptance of risk and liability 

Entry to the Stadium

The ticketing terms and conditions will specify that only the holder of a valid ticket will be permitted entry to the stadium and will only be provided with access to the specific areas designated on the ticket.

This provision may seem obvious but it is of significant importance as it helps protect your safety within the stadium by protecting the designated segregation between rival supporters.

This provision will also state that you will not be provided with access to the stadium if one of the following scenarios occurs:

That the person is noticeably under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or any other behaviour modifying substance

If that person is behaving, or is likely to behave, violently, harmfully or in a manner which is liable to disrupt public order or cause a nuisance to the other ticket holders

If that person has not complied with any of the other conditions imposed by the terms and conditions

Again this is designed to protect those individuals already within the stadium and their enjoyment of the spectacle. For certain high profile sporting events where there is significant safety concerns certain data is taken from individuals when they purchase tickets such as their name, address and passport number. These will be checked upon entry to the stadium and access will be denied if they do not match the details provided by the customer.

This is designed to ensure safety within the stadium and to protect against a black market of tickets.

Transfer of Tickets

It is often provided for in ticketing terms and conditions that the holder of the ticket may not sell, offer for resale, resell, donate or otherwise transfer their ticket in any way without the prior approval of the body in control of the ticketing for the match or event.

This provision is also designed to ensure safety within the stadium in that each seat is occupied by the appropriate person but it is also there to ensure against a black market of tickets developing and to protect various rights of sponsors and partners of the event.

Black market

If people are found to be selling tickets outside the ground – a process known as touting – then the event organiser will be able to rely on this provision to stop the selling occurring and stop anyone holding a ticket sold in this manner in gaining access to the stadium.

Protection of Sponsors

Often the official sponsors of an event or match will run ticket promotions offering the chance to win tickets following the purchase of their product. It is often the case that un-official promotions are also run by competing companies who are not sponsors. If this is the case this provision enables these operations to be shut down as the ticketing will have been transferred to the company in contravention of the ticketing terms and conditions.

Is the prohibition on the transfer of tickets in violation of the rights of consumers?

During the last world cup in Germany the German authorities felt that a provision limiting the transferability of tickets was in contravention of German consumer protection legislation. Consequently a transfer platform was developed which allowed this to be done in certain situations, i.e. ill health.

Often FA Premier League clubs will run an official transfer platform which enables season ticket holders to legitimately transfer their tickets in exchange for payment for matches which they are unable to attend.

Sound and Image Recordings

This is often broken down into two subsections and involves the authorised broadcast of the event and any possible unauthorised recording of the event.

Firstly, upon entry to the stadium the holder of the ticket authorizes the use of their image in any broadcast. This will override any existing legislation which may exist in that country concerning the use and exploitation of a person’s image.

Secondly the unauthorised recording of the event is expressly prohibited. This is designed to protect the official broadcast rights which will have been provided to the official broadcasters and to prevent any kind of streaming on the internet.

Common sense will often be used in relation to this meaning that if you record of your personal camera or mobile phone for personal use then you are unlikely to be in contravention of this condition.

Ambush Marketing and Other Marketing activities

The ticketing general terms and conditions will specify that ticket holders must not engage in any form of activity which may result in an unauthorised commercial association with the match or event which is to the detriment of the official sponsors.

As in the UK there are no laws which relate specifically to ambush marketing inserting a condition such as this within the ticketing general terms and conditions the event organiser has an effective tool to prevent this kind of activity happening.

On match day the holders of the tickets will be expressly prohibited from using, wearing, possessing or holding promotional material within the stadium. A typical form of ambush marketing is in relation to promotional material being handed to supporters on their way to the stadium so this can be picked up by the television cameras when inside the stadium. A condition such as this enables the authorities to confiscate any such material upon entry to the stadium therefore ensuring the only brand names seen on television are those of the official sponsors.

If you are given any such promotional activity as this be expected to be prohibited from taking it inside the stadium.

Acceptance of Risk and Liability

It is always the case that the event organiser will seek to restrict their liability stating that the holder of the ticket accepts the risks involved with entering the stadium. Such risks may include a collision with a participant or being hit by the ball. You will not be able to claim compensation from the event organiser for such an event occurring as you will be deemed aware of your acceptance of this condition when you enter the stadium.

Clauses trying to restrict liability for death or personal injury will however fall foul of the Unfair Contract Terms Act.