The Great Arsenal Stadium Ticketing Mystery

I’ll be honest I was a little pessimistic about our chances against Liverpool in the FA Cup, considering how we ‘performed’ the week previous, but I, and I’m sure I’m not alone, was pleasantly surprised by how we worked hard to secure our place in the next round. 

In fact I know I wasn’t alone, both my kids were delighted with our result and were begging me to get tickets for the quarter final, at home to Everton. Being the amazing Dad I am (go ahead – ask them) I promised to book them as soon as they went on sale – 10am yesterday morning.

Okay, I admit, I let them down a little bit, I was travelling with little or no internet access, but at the first opportunity I logged on to Arsenal.com to book up. I’ll be honest, I got logged on pretty quickly – normally there is that progress bar that crawls along the screen slower than one of Ivan’s transfer dealings, so I was pretty confident. I must add, as Silver members I have never had any problems getting tickets for any game that we’ve wanted to attend, whatever category game it is.

This was different. At 10:20am, it appeared that there was very limited availability in the family enclosure – there was a row of 15 green dots showing available seats, but whenever I clicked on one, it just wouldn’t select it – I tried different seats all with the same result and within three minutes all of the family enclosure was completely sold out.

I put it down to it being a popular fixture – but there was still plenty of availability throughout the rest of the ground, but this forces me to pay full adult prices for my kids, pushing the cost up to north of £130 for tickets, plus travel, food/drinks etc., I’m looking at a £230 day out. I’m not going to start on the ‘The working man is being priced out’ argument, think we’ve banged that drum plenty already, fact is the Champions League game against Bayern had already rinsed me out financially.

I took to Twitter last night and it seems lots of other people had similar experiences, in fact it seems a lot worse than I first thought – some were logged in and looking for tickets in the family enclosure at 10am sharp, only to find it was sold out already!! How can this happen? How can tickets go on sale at 10am and be sold out at 10:01? Something doesn’t sound right to me.

People tweeting me things like;

Kids have gone to every home game this season in Family Encl, tickets sold out by 10:02’

Logged in at 10:00 and all downstairs FE was sold out from the word go’

Something isn’t right…did they just let them tickets go over the phone and not online?’

Can’t see how four sections can sell out in 0 minutes’

I later learned that block 117 (Upper Tier) had also been nominated as ‘Family Enclosure’, but again I logged on to find it had also sold out, and quickly. I’m not sure there was any specific messaging from the club or on the website about this being released – seemed to be a ‘back door’ policy on it – why the secrecy?

Arsenal v Everton ticket ‘availability’

The Family Enclosure isn’t any smaller than normal, it doesn’t appear to be a hugely popular fixture – the above image was taken at 8:15pm last night, showing plenty of availability, yet all ‘Junior Gunners’ concessional tickets are gone? This is completely the opposite experience to that I have ever had buying tickets in the FE at the bowl.

I logged on again at 8.34, and to my dismay, it seemed more tickets had come on sale…

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Further discussion concluded that this was Season Ticket holders who have opted out. This brings up a further question. The opt out date is 3pm Thursday 27th February, after the date tickets went on sale to Silver Members. Surely the club should have put the opt out date deadline before the tickets went on sale? Are the club hoping that all upper tier tickets are sold (at the higher price) before offering the lower tier season tickets to the market?

I’m not one for conspiracies, but there is something amiss here, something we will never learn about, because as sure as eggs are eggs, we will not get a straight answer from the club. In fact, having written to the club before, and having their reply featured in a double page spread in The Sun, I know asking the question would be futile, my time would be much better spent elsewhere.

So, best I leave this to the comments section on Shewore.com – so if you have any idea as to how all these tickets can be sold so quickly, feel free to leave a comment. Would love to hear from anyone who had a similar experience or those that were successful in getting a ticket in blocks 26-29.

Hammy

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17 thoughts on “The Great Arsenal Stadium Ticketing Mystery

  1. ScotchEggsRule

    Hammy – I’ve been stung with wanting to take my nippers to a match as well. Ended up shelling out for 3 adult seats and not 1 + 2 kids. What can you do mate?

    Reply
  2. JTheArsenal

    As Cannon Club I had the same problems, but was logged on early enough to get two tickets in block 27 a few seats apart. Given its an FA cup tie with 5100 Everton fans block 26 is an away block for this fixture, so 27 is the closest I could get.

    Opt out needs to be sorted much earlier, kept on seeing seats in the NB and ES lower becoming available for seconds then disappearing. Weird lottery.

    Reply
  3. bc

    I know the answer to this.

    As an act of fairness the availability of tickets are staggered to allow all members a fair opportunity to obtain tickets not just those that get on first.

    Some people are still travelling to work or even live in different time zones, so some tickets are made available in the first hour and some more in the 2nd hour, and so on.

    There is in fact extra tickets available for this match as evertons allocation has been reduced, because of their problems with flares.

    There is also another couple of major factora to online booking. Demand (many people are logging in on more than one device using multiple memberships) and Internet speed. If u want to be the first online you need the best speed and that really does make all the difference.

    Finally, people are abusing the system. For example if you and 3 pals all make applications at the same time, all 4 of you can get 16 tickets allocated, then it’s a race to who pays first. Once payment is confirmed by 1 of the payers, the system has to wait for the other 3 to “time out” before releasing the 12 unpaid for tickets for availability once more. Imagine if just 20 groups of 4 people do that at 10 am? that ties up 320 tickets straight away only for 240 to be released again some 10 minutes later. Meanwhile another 20 groups of 4 pals are logging on at 10:01 and again at 10:02.

    Reply
  4. jasonnisse

    he system is bizarre. And to add insult to injury, Red members are unfairly discriminated aganist despite Silver membership being “closed”. I have been either a season ticket holder or a member for over 20 years, I’m also an Islington resident, yet Arsenal won’t give me silver membership

    Reply
    1. goonersx

      Silver members have had a 100% in 10yrs and a 50% increase in 3yrs plus this season 2,000 less tickets to go for. Its not closed, its a waiting list. I went on that waiting list in 1998 and took me till 2005 to get silver..I appreciate your frustrations but the cost aside itsa fair system based on time served.

      Reply
  5. jasonnisse

    A friend who has had a season ticket for fewer years than I was offered silver membership. A neighbour who never went on any waiting list was given silver membership. I was a season ticket holder from 1984 until 2011 and then changed, ironically so I could take my kids!!! So far we’ve been able to get tickets in the family enclouse for just one game this season

    Reply
  6. George Goldhawk

    I experienced the exact same problem and frustration and then some on top! Having a silver membership (still just scraping into the cannon club age limit), I am always able to buy a ticket. The majority of the time this is a reasonably priced ticket in the JE or block 117. However, both were sold out yesterday, therefore I looked for tickets in other sections and there was plenty…great news…or so it would seem. I also buy a ticket for my younger brother (junior gunner). But, yesterday it wouldn’t allow me to buy a ticket on his membership outside of the JG enclosure. After some research, frustration and confusion I decided to call up Arsenal’s ticket office to find out what was going on. It turns out that while tickets are available in the JG enclosure, JG’s can’t buy tickets elsewhere. However, the JG enclosure and block 117 had now been sold out for 2 hours, so I presumed a technical fault on the website. So, when I called up and gave the lady my membership numbers I expected just to have to pay a little more than usual. Yet again, simplicity was not an option. The lady explained to me that she couldn’t get me tickets as there were still tickets available in the JG enclosure and there is a SEPERATE number to call for this where you can ONLY buy JG enclosure tickets (remember this). But I explained they had been sold out for 2 hours on the website, she just declared she hadn’t been informed of this. So after a 3 minute call with only 30 seconds of dialogue – an obligatory 2 minute explanation of how the ticket offices work seems unfair as I’m paying for the call – I had to call the other number. On the other number I went through a similar procedure, gave in my membership details and now expected to get cheaper JG enclosure tickets. Oh there’s no JG enclosure tickets left. You have to be kidding. So I explained my previous call with the other line, and despite being told this was a line designed ONLY for the JG enclosure the man said he could get my tickets? Yeah try explaining that Arsenal. At this point I just wanted tickets…so I agreed and the man came back with a price of £108 for two tickets (about 4x the usual price) despite the fact that I had found two adult tickets for £62 on the internet in my search at the same time, the man assured me that these were the only priced tickets he could find, so I bought them. But then what really got to me…at about 4 o’clock I saw a few tweets saying that they had just bought tickets in block 117!! I couldn’t believe this to be possible, until it seemed like these fans knew that tickets in 117 were being released later despite no mention of this on the website or on the phone with two members of Arsenal staff. Hugely frustrating and I hope it’s simpler again next time. Oh and while I’m here I’m looking for a Munich away ticket if anyone knows of one being sold. Thanks

    Reply
    1. davidhamilton1971

      Very odd behavior. I know I’ve had similar issues when I’ve wanted to sit with mates but also take my kids along – but you can’t buy standard seats on a junior gunner membership in any other part of the ground, even if you offer to pay full price for them, until FE is sold out.

      It’s a joke really! The club has no idea what ‘Customer Service’ means, but to sell out FE within seconds, yet internally have no idea it even has, adds more fuel to my conspiracy theory that there is something afoot here.

      Reply
  7. Nevil Shute

    Though my comment is by no means defacto, it is quite easy for limited tickets to run out within sixty seconds. If you consider the thousands of people who may potentially all be trying to get tickets at exactly 10:00am, and that there are only a very small, finite amount of these ‘family enclosure’ tickets available, simple mathematics suggests that the statistical chance of success is minimal. As for not being able to ‘select’ the seats despite clicking on the icons, again this is not defacto, but from my (limited) understanding of website booking technology, once the system is engaged with processing an online booking, any specific seat being processed becomes unavailable to other users. Once the booking is confirmed the coding is set to then change the status of availibility. As mentioned above, thousands of people going for very limited seat quantities can all be sorted out very easily in under sixty seconds. Just think about how fast Glastonbury tickets sell out…

    Reply
    1. G1971

      Is correct Nevil, the point is this is bucking the trend and the usual experience when booking FE tickets. Even for the Bayern game, I could get tickets when I logged on considerably later than this time. Same is true for a lot of higher profile games, leading me to believe there is something more at play here.

      Reply
  8. paula

    i went on evertons website and was offered 2 x £35 seats all i had to do was join up and i had just paid 50 each for 2 silver in upper tier

    Reply

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