Premier League side Sunderland AFC has become the first team in England's top flight to secure a deal with secondary ticketing company StubHub.
The deal begins with the upcoming 2012/13 season and sees StubHub, which entered the UK market in March, become the Black Cats’ official secondary ticketing partner.
The online fan-to-fan ticket exchange, which claims to sell one ticket every second in the US, will enable Sunderland season ticket holders to sell their seat for any game they are unable to attend, direct to fellow fans, at a price that they themselves dictate.
Supporters will be able to list tickets online at stubhub.co.uk, on the company’s mobile site and through mobile apps, with the sale of tickets to the Tyne-Wear derby – Sunderland’s clash with local rivals Newcastle - restricted for security reasons.
An additional aspect of the partnership will see StubHub become a platinum partner of the club, which finished 13th last year. StubHub will offer fans the chance to win seat upgrades for certain matches and a number of what the company calls ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences.
The agreement marks StubHub’s first tie-up with a Premier League club to be officially announced by the company after unconfirmed reports surfaced in the English press earlier this week that a similar deal had been signed with Everton.
It is not the first time a club in England's top flight has signed this kind of agreement, however, as the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and, most recently, Aston Villa have all previously entered into agreement with Viagogo, another secondary ticketing company founded by StubHub co-founder Eric Baker in 2004.
Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, general manager, international at StubHub, said: “As a new entrant to the UK market, we recognise the power of the Sunderland AFC brand and the passion its supporters have for the club. We have a similar passion for serving fans and are looking forward to working with the club to provide its supporters with a best-in-class marketplace and experience.”
Sunderland’s marketing director Mike Farnan added: “StubHub enters the UK market with a powerful reputation from more than decade in the US where they are recognised as the biggest and best-respected brand in secondary ticketing. This fits perfectly with our club ethos of affiliating ourselves with brands who are market-leaders in their field.
“StubHub impressed us hugely with their commitment to fans and this mirrors our own aims to provide Sunderland fans with the very best goods and services. Season card holders are the lifeblood of any football club and here at Sunderland we are fortunate to enjoy a vibrant and thriving season card holder base which we hope will enjoy the significant benefits of this unique partnership.”