The Champions League Fake Tickets Disaster Could Have Been Avoided Using Blockchain Technology

After the ugly scenes outside the Stade de France on Saturday, 28 May 2022, minutes before the Champions League final kick-off between Liverpool F.C, and eventual winners Real Madrid C.F, UEFA and France have come under fire for the ‘unfair treatment of fans by the French police’. Less than a week following the final, and amidst heavy criticism from the football fans, Liverpool F.C and Real Madrid, the French sports ministry has been meeting Europe’s football governing body UEFA, the French Football Association, stadium officials and police to “draw lessons” from the event. 

As reported by BBC, the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, blamed the actions on Saturday, mainly affecting Liverpool fans, on “massive, industrial-scale ticket fraud” that saw an inflated number of Liverpool fans and local fans, some with fake tickets, try to make their way into the stadium. With the number of fake tickets expected to be nearly 40,000, such an issue (on such a grand stage that attracts over 300 million viewers) is simply “unacceptable”, a Real Madrid statement read. 

The rise in ticket fraud across all sports is an issue that has plagued many teams’ revenues/profits and affects the fans that have paid for their ticket fairly. Despite the tough measures and punishments that authorities have put in place, it continues to be rampant, especially in football. As such several solutions are being looked at to stop this rampant fraud in sports, with blockchain technology a superior solution to other methods. Blockchain technology is rising as a much-needed solution to ticket fraud given its secure, robust, and transparent features. 

Stewart Smith, Head of Sales and Marketing of ShareRing believes blockchain to be the future of ticketing, providing “safe answers to many industries and the ticketing industry for events and occasions”. The UCL final is a better example that shows how much adopting a blockchain-based solution will offer a lasting solution to ticketing. 

“Amongst other reasons cited by the media, the apparent presence of fake tickets was partially to blame for the problems before the match last week,” Smith said. “Using NFT technology to issue tickets, and taking advantage of their immutable characteristics- that is, by definition, it cannot be altered or copied- event organisers can now prove the legitimacy of tickets, rendering fake copies a thing of the past.”

Smith’s ShareRing is one of the leading blockchain solutions that could help solve the multi-billion ticket fraud crisis using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and ID verification technology. Via its existing Access solutions the platform mints the users’ ticket verification into an NFT, allowing businesses to grant access to products, goods and services – such as events – by digitally verifying entry requirements set by the organiser or business are met by the individual trying to gain access.

“Benefits of blockchain in ticketing are huge, from data protection and security benefits to real-life safety and minimal disruption like we witnessed last week can be eradicated,” Smith added. 

In a similar breath, GUTS Tickets is another blockchain solution working on enhancing ticketing for events and concerts across the world. The platform includes digital smart tickets that hash the ticket on the blockchain, giving the ticket holder total control and insight during the event. Additionally, the platform allows event management to create, validate, and control any tickets during the event in a bid to reduce the cases of fraud. Its unique selling point lies in enabling the secondary market of tickets. 

Going back to the UCL final, the majority of the fake tickets came about through the secondary market, as football fans flocked to websites to buy tickets from other fans. GUTS Tickets prevents this, allowing and facilitating a controlled reselling of tickets as every transfer of the original ticket is recorded on the public blockchain, much like the NFT model on ShareRing. The event can choose to keep prices the same all around, set up discounts for certain groups, or even switch on dynamic pricing of the tickets whether in the primary or secondary market. 

In conclusion, adopting blockchain technology solutions to ticketing benefit both the business, event organizer and the customers as it provides a quick and easy, highly secure and transparent method to validate tickets. Notwithstanding, the customer is in complete control of their personal and financial data.

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