Germans Charged £14,000 for Two Champions League Tickets
German soccer fans desperate to snap up tickets to Wembley's Champions League final on Saturday are being charged up to £14,000 ($21,166) for a pair of tickets on the black market, the Daily Mail reported on Friday.
German rivals Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will battle it out for the coveted UEFA Champions League final this weekend, and up to 150,000 German football fans are expected to descend on Wembley Stadium looking for tickets.
In response, touts are attempting to take advantage of desperate fans by offering black market tickets at eye-watering prices.
The most expensive Category 1 tickets have a face value of £330 ($499), but Madrid-based agency 1st4footballtickets.com is charging up to £13,760 per pair - £10,450 for the tickets plus £3,310 in fees and taxes.
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Meanwhile, agency ticket4football.com is selling a pair for £7,350 and two tickets are listed on internet auction site eBay for £1,500, according to Daily Mail reports. Even the cheapest tickets for the game, originally priced at £60, are being sold for £4,510 a pair - 38 times face value.
Ticket touts are able to charge such hugely inflated prices because of unprecedented demand. Wembley has a capacity of 86,000, but only 50,000 seats have been allocated to the two German teams, which were forced to hold ballots for the coveted tickets due to high demand.
Borussia Dortmund, which has a home crowd of 80,000, held a draw after 500,000 fans applied for tickets.
A total of 20,000 seats have been reserved for UEFA's affiliates, including its governing body, national associations, sponsors, broadcasters and hospitality packages.
Ticket touting by U.K. firms was outlawed in 2007, but the rules do not prevent foreign firms re-selling tickets at inflated prices.
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The astronomical costs will be particularly painful for German fans, who enjoy the benefits of low ticket prices at home.
Both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are seen as good examples of how football clubs can be run in Europe, boasting large crowds, profitable business models and success on the field - in addition to low ticket prices.
The German clubs contrast sharply with Spain's top clubs, for example, where Real Madrid and Barcelona sign their own television deals - rather than collectively – which disadvantages smaller clubs.
Meanwhile, billionaire investor takeovers of top English clubs have driven up wage and transfer costs. German clubs, however, are subject to rules on ownership that ensure members retain control, preventing foreign takeovers.
- By CNBC.Com's Katie Holliday, Follow her on Twitter: @hollidaykatie