/ Money, Travel & Leisure

The Great British rugby ‘rip-off’ for Lions fans

British & Irish Lions rugby team playing against Australia

Why do I have to pay thousands to see the British & Irish Lions play when the Aussies pay £61 (AU$95) for a test match ticket? Shouldn’t we be able to buy tickets at face-value prices?

I’m a Lions fan and I’ve travelled something like 70,000 miles to watch the team since 1997. But I won’t be going to watch the 2013 tour in Australia because of the extortionate prices the Lions are charging their fans to watch them play.

If I wanted to go to Australia to watch the three Lions rugby test matches this summer, I’d need to pay Lions Rugby Travel – the official travel company for the Lions – £2,499 for a flight to-and-from Australia and three tickets to the test matches. They throw in a £50 Lions rugby shirt for ‘free’, but the £2,499 price doesn’t include accommodation – you’ll need to pay more for that.

But if I was allowed to buy the tickets at face-value prices, as the Aussies will be able to, I could buy three tickets online for £183 and a return flight to Australia with internal flights for £982. That would result in a total cost of £1,165 – a saving of £1,334 on the official price.

Are Lions rugby tickets value for money?

The problem for British and Irish supporters is that cheap match tickets are kept well out of reach by the Lions. You can’t simply buy a match ticket for this summer’s Lions tour of Australia – Australian ticket sellers won’t sell to anyone who doesn’t have an Aussie address. Instead, you’ll need to buy expensive official flight or holiday packages through the Lions themselves or agents appointed by them.

Justin Hopwood of Lions Rugby Travel told us:

‘Official Lions packages are protected to give consumers financial security and peace of mind. There are a range of ticket options to choose from, and we strongly believe the official packages represent value for money when compared to other major sporting events.’

I understand that the Lions need to find money to fund the tour and that flying a huge squad and support staff half-way round the world doesn’t come cheap. And it’s not like the Lions have dozens of fixtures every year to raise revenue from. But it shouldn’t be the fans who foot this much of the bill for their tours.

The Lions are sponsored by HSBC, their kit is made by Adidas, the famous red shirts will sell in their thousands and their games are shown exclusively on Sky. So there are other routes for the Lions to make money.

Other sports don’t choose to hit their supporters in the pocket like this – for the football world cup or the rugby world cup, anyone in the world could buy tickets at face value online. If you want to go to see the Lord’s test vs Australia this year, you only have to enter the ballot to have a chance of getting a ticket. The same can be said of Wimbledon.

How to get cheap Lions rugby tickets

The way the Lions are selling their tickets is unfair to rugby fans – British and Irish supporters are being charged prices usually reserved for corporate hospitality tickets, while Aussies can just log on and buy the tickets they want.

If you want to see the Lions for a lot less than the cost of the official package, ask friends and family in Australia to buy your tickets for you from 9am on Monday 18 February when tickets go on sale from Proticket, Ticketek and the Australian Ticketmaster site. They’ll need an Australian address and the tickets will be sent out in May.

What do you think? Is it fair that we have to pay so much more than the Aussies for tickets to the same British & Irish Lions games?

Dean T says:
19 March 2013

Hi All

I am a very disappointed Rugby supporter, who has gone on many rugby tours before. We are being rip-off by the official tours. I have been planning this trip for 3 years have the hotels the flights (used my avios points). Spent a couple hours trying to book tickets with Aus friends when they went on sale. We were lucky and got tickets for 2nd Test but could not get any for 1st and 3rd. We have tried to buy from other sources that promised the earth but they do not deliver. Lucky we used credit cards so are covered, so people be careful! I am getting to point where I might give it up, all I want is a ticket at a fair price!!

Thanks for the article Matt.

Lionfan says:
6 May 2013

Chickens come home to roost – test tickets not taken up in the expensive accommodation packages now available from Lions Ltd for £350 and Gullivers for £295, cloaked around a ‘pie and a pint deal’ so as to still be a lot more than face value, but still far less than original demands.


I had a phone call from LionsTour.com telling me they would be doing this in about a 2 weeks! As pointed out they are on sale and I’ve got my ticket to the 2nd Test for a hefty £409 which they have very kindly included a “free” Lions Shirt!!!!!

Rae says:
6 May 2013

Contacted last week from Lions Travel – was I still interested in tickets for the Test matches – Quoted £1,149.00 for 3 Bronze Package Tickets – (face value £185.00 ) but as mentioned including a Lions Shirt and a pie and a beer – so £250.00 total value – I thought Ticket Touts were Illegal – yet the Lions travel company are doing it and will probably get away with it as people who have arranged their own flights/accomodation etc will want the tickets. The “True Lions Supporters ” are being shafted again, as usual to pay for all the hangers on that are travelling for free.

Mark says:
23 May 2013

There are Currently Platinum tickets available on the Ticketek website for the Brisbane Test match. $295 per seat!! Be quick!!!!

Dilsie says:
25 May 2013

No there aren’t!!! there are not tickets available anywhere!!!!

grips says:
27 May 2013

gumtree.com.au there are a number of tickets for sale for all 3 tests. I have 2 platinum Tix for Brisbane test.

Phil says:
29 May 2013

Yes there are !! You need to look at the Australian sites. Tickets for all three tests have been available to buy at face value for the last month or so. As soon as new batches become available they become available on the Ticketek and Ticketmaster Australian websites. I’ve bought all my test tickets in the last four weeks.

jb says:
29 May 2013

Ticketek have but not ticketmaster for the 2nd test