Many of the tickets for the UBC Thunderbirds vs. Bieksa’s Buddies charity hockey game will raise money for anything but charity.
With the NHL lockout already cancelling the first two weeks of the NHL season, Vancouver hockey fans have pounced at the opportunity to go watch their favourite Vancouver Canucks take the ice on Oct. 17. However, this game has also provided an opportunity for ticket scalpers in the area to make some significant profits.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 48 postings on Craigslist advertising the sale of tickets for the hockey game, with prices peaking at $150 a ticket. Scalpers are taking in a huge profit on the $20 tickets and defeating the purpose of this event: to raise money for charity.
Tickets for the event went on sale on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m., and all 5,000 of them had sold out by 11 a.m. Selling out the event is undoubtedly a huge success, since the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Canucks Autism Network and Canucks Family Education Centre will all be receiving substantial donations. But the people who have bought the tickets for resale will profit solely for their own benefit. None of the Craigslist postings said that the money made from their ticket sales would be donated to charity.
“It’s a situation that is obviously disappointing,” said Dan Elliott, manager of media relations at UBC. “This is a game where all the funds are going to charity, and somebody trying to personally benefit off something like that is disappointing to see.
“At this point and time, there is nothing we can do about it. We’d love to be able to completely prevent it, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do. Until they outlaw scalping [and] make it a crime,… nothing will change, whether it’s here at a charity event or at a regular game for the Canucks.”
There was no ticket pre-sale for UBC students, so there is no way to know how many of them got tickets. The low ticket price of $20 was created with students in mind, but now many faithful hockey fans are unable to find reasonably priced tickets.
This is a game where all the funds are going to charity, and somebody trying to personally benefit off something like that is disappointing to see.”
“I’m a student at the university and struggling financially (like most students), so I can’t afford to pay the price most people are offering on Craigslist,” read a listing on the site, one of the few posted in hopes of finding tickets as opposed to selling them.
Several other people are not at all pleased with the scalping.
“It’s disgusting,” wrote second-year computer science student Vineet Deo on Twitter. “If you’re gunna [sic] sell them, sell them for the price you paid, or give the remainder to charity… not your wallet.”
“If it all went to Bieksa’s charities, no problem. But since some people are doing it for their own charity (nudge, nudge), [it's a] problem,” tweeted UBC alumnus Martin Cocking.
But this is a hockey game that features some of the top Canucks players in the midst of a lockout. Even in a regular season, tickets to see the Canucks play at Rogers Arena typically go for around $100. Several Twitter users made the point that scalping was inevitable.
“Should have sold them for what they’re worth in the first place,” tweeted Ubyssey staff photographer Josh Curran, noting that people from all around city would pounce on this opportunity, whether they were scalping the tickets or not.
“Supply vs. demand, it’s that simple,” commented fourth-year political science student Jake Jaffe on Twitter.
Bieksa commented Tuesday that if the lockout continued, he would look into holding a second game, according to Ben Kuzma of the Province. But even if there’s another game, people will still have to shell out substantial cash to attend.
“Ideally you don’t want it to happen, but it is [happening],” said Elliott. “It’s just a situation where there’s things we can’t control and we can’t worry about it too much.
“It is a great event that goes towards an outstanding cause with the three great charities, and that’s all we’re really focused about at this point in time. We hope these [scalpers] realize the situation and what they’re trying to do, but we can’t control it.”
—With files from Andrew Bates