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13 July 2024

Dubai Tennis Open sold out, but tickets available online... ‘unofficially’

Pic: Supplied

By Sneha May Francis

Tickets to the final three days to the men’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships might be officially “closed”, just hours after it went on sale on January 14, but many bargain websites are offering them for a huge mark-up.

“I have one grandstand ticket for men’s semi-final (Day 5) of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship 2014 for Friday Feb 28, 2014,” posted an advert on Dubizzle.

When Emirates24|7 called to check, the seller stated that the single ‘grandstand’ ticket, which officially costs Dh400, was available for Dh700. This would mean the seller would instantly make a Dh300 profit.

Many online ticket sellers exercised caution and didn’t answer calls from unknown landlines or mobile numbers, and responded only after a text message stating the request was sent.

Viagogo, which is a global ticketing website, also advertised tickets to the Dubai Open.

Tickets (grandstand) for the quarter finals, which is originally marked at Dh300, is being sold for $223.29 (Dh820). Semi-final tickets, which cost Dh400, for $275 (Dh1,010), and final tickets, which cost Dh500 for $363.53 (Dh1,335).

Some bargain sites even posted ads from prospective buyers. “Really need pair of tickets to semi-finals and finals of Dubai Duty Free tennis. Price can be negotiated. Thank you :)”.

Another wrote, “A group of kids is flying to Dubai especially for this event. To see their tennis heroes in real life. But when we went online to buy the tickets there was not one ticket left :-( Please contact me even if you have only 1 ticket!”

And this, when the event organisers insisted that they would stop the resale of tickets for profits.

“It is a condition of sale that tickets to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are not to be re-sold,” stated Sinead El Sibai, vice president of marketing at Dubai Duty Free, which owns and organises the tennis Championships.

“We are aware that people are offering tickets for re-sale through certain websites and we would encourage people to disregard these ads, and not engage in transactions which reward those who have bought tickets specifically to sell at inflated prices,”

“It is worth noting that we deliberately reduce the number of tickets that can be sold to individuals to four in order to reduce the opportunity to re-sell.

“We take the issue of unauthorised resale of tickets very seriously, and have been in contact with the relevant websites to have these ads removed from the sites, and have already had many taken down.

“We will continue to monitor the websites to have the ads removed. During the tournament security will be in place to try and  ensure that no unauthorised sales take place outside of the stadium.”

A disclaimer on their official website reiterated this. “Any unauthorised re-sale or transfer, tickets become null and void and the holder will be refused entry or ejected from the venue.

“We reserve the right to cancel any ticket advertised with the intent of reselling for profit or commercial gain.”

On January 14, tickets to the sporting event were sold few hours after the sale began.

The official website confirmed the same. Men’s week ‘Prime A’ season ticket, which costs Dh2,750, was sold out. Even tickets to the men’s quarter finals, semi-finals, and finals were “closed”.

The official online ticketing counter at timeouttickets, which comes with the disclaimer that only four tickets per family will be sold, was also closed.

A call centre official for the event also confirmed the same.

Tickets to the women’s events and the first days at the men’s events are still available.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, now in its 22nd year, runs from February 17 to March 1.

Four-time and current champion Novak Djokovic will be back to defend his title.

This isn’t the first year that such incidents have been reported, Emirates24|7 had exposed such illegal activities for the same event back in 2012.