/ 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?

Flore says:
18 February 2013

Yes, im Australian as well and believe me its far from being easy. i was online at 8.30 am and i didnt even managed to get tickets, this is ridiculous. Im very angry and upset, as i wanted to surprise my partner, i created an account weeks ago with the travel agent and put the money aside…all of this for nothing! !So its not easier for australian!

David M says:
18 February 2013

I knew tickets would go fast but this was just ridiculous. So my plan was instead of trying to get through on the phone or Internet I decided to go and queue outside one of the ticket agencies. Got there 2 hours before opening sale at 9am and was first in queue. Ticketek lady took everyone’s wishes and details in queue before sale so we were ready to go and were advised to take what ever was available. countdown started and she logged on bang on time. Looked at screen and not a single ticket available in any category!! !! by pure chance two seats came available for a split second and I grabbed them. $460 no less! No one else who was in the queue managed to get any tickets for brisbane test. what a joke. A stadium with a 50,000 capacity and no tickets for anyone.

Clint Turtle says:
18 February 2013

So this is it, this is what its come down to, going to Australia with six friends, travelling thousands of miles in camper vans just to sit in a bar and watch the games on TV. tickets are already being touted at at prices ranging from £400- £1200. Had a team in oz working hard to get tickets but to no avail, what a rip off, when the so called official travel companies have failed to sell their inflated tour packages will they sell their tickets to genuine fans at face value, no, will they put them up for sale at vastly inflated prices, yes. If this is not ticket touting then what is?
The RFU should hang its head in shame, HSBC should pull its sponsorship and insist genuine fans get first dibs. The Government should prosecute the RFU and ticket master for being touts, lets get together and get our members of parliament to ask the question.

Rossy says:
18 February 2013

Same situation for us Clint. My family are feeling really disppointed at not being able to get us tickets. There was no way we were going to pay BLO £2499 for flights and tickets when we want to do our own thing. We’ll also be watching in bars or at the homes of our family and friends who we are staying with along the way. Hoping that maybe the games a shown on big screens in public parks. At least that’ll be something. Nothing like being inside the ground. Huge disappointment all round 🙁

Clint Turtle says:
18 February 2013

Just paid £350 each for 7 tickets for last test with vat and booking fee that comes to £395 each can anyone justify this? Its about time Jeremy Vine stopped talking about toilets and found out why we are being ripped off so much, even Dick Turpin wore a mask.

Hi All
Thought I keep you upto speed with a few things I have been doing, I have now written to newspapers, MP’s, IRB,ARFU,Lions,Sun,and then Rugby World, and Rugby Post.
Rugby post interviewed me by Phone on Friday and put a little in sundays edition.
I know it not going to change one little thing this time but may do the next time and also they cannot say no one told them.
I too was on the webb last night and with all my contacts in OZ find out the tickets are all gone.
Today I sent a e-mail to the ARFU and attached a link, this link go to EBay where an Australian residant has 2x$95 bronze tickets worth £122 and the bid price at present is £1650.
I thought I would ask them if they are happy and pround of themselves.
like attached if you want to view.
I still suggest you send e-mails to everyone like myself and see what happens.


Nicki says:
18 February 2013

My friends in Australia were up this morning to buy them and they were all sold out in minutes, now we have none and trying to buy them here is ridiculous. £300 for a crap view, it makes me so angry.

Question Answer
Inquiry type Complaint
Full Name
Phone Number
Your Message As I have already complained about Lions allocation with no response from you i thought I would share this link with you as you have created this situation.
A $95 Lions sydney ticket up for sell from an Australian citizen on Ebay staing price for a pair £1650
You should be ashamed of yourselves as you created this problem and allowing what you call scalping to go ahead but say it is illegal.


Message ID 226991950101451921
Your IP
Form ARU Contact us – http://www.rugby.com.au/ContactUs.aspx


Similar situation as a couple of guys here. Travelling indepedently in a group 6. Have hired camper van and had some people over in Oz trying to get tickets this morning but no luck. Annoyed doesn;t even begin to cover it! Absolutely gutted.

Thanks Jason for your advice. I was one of the lucky ones following Daniel kings advice. Secured two platingham seats for 2nd and 3rd tests. Now I have to sort flights and hotels but I’m sure that will be a doddle. 40th anniversary surprise for my husband which was on the 17th!


Luckly my other friend who is an Ozzie Rugby League player has managed to get me a spare ticket he had as my other friend failed like alot of others.

If you want good deals on fligts check out Qatar Airways or http://www.tescotravelstore.com can get clubcard points on your flights as well then,

Enjoy the trip and I’m sure your husband will as well 🙂

Daniel Daley says:
19 February 2013

we in Australia can not get any tickets for the games,we are told sold out and they only went on sale to day at 9am .sumthing is not wright.

Does anyone know of any way of getting into the official Lions Supporters, village apart from the obvious way of spending £2500 for the package?

Myself and the Mrs booked a rip-off package. We were offered an extra night in a Melbourne Hotel for £200. I identified the hotel and booked the extra night we needed myself – directly with the hotel – for £89. The £200 offer was from Lions Rugby Travel.

Not only were we stung for the package, but they tried to fleece us for and extra £111 on a hotel room too.

This is simply treating the fans as a cash cow and needs to stop!

Seems about par for the course, judging by the other comments! At least you’ve managed to achieve one bargain at their expense. The trouble is most people just pay what they ask without challenging. We’ve arranged our trip ourselves but hotels in Sydney and Melbourne seem to be fantascially expensive, i guess because of the tour. I’d be interested to know where you are staying, if you don’t mind as the rate sounds brilliant.


This is a great site if you are looking to book flights:

It;s an Australian site and seems to have better options.

I had quotes for around £1750 from London to HKong (2 night stopover) to Melbourne and then back from Sydney to London, plus two internal flights. I got a much better deal, flying with BA, no hanging around for long waits for connections. Same seats were not available on UK sites. Hope this helps if anyone is looking to compare.

Steve in Leeds says:
25 February 2013

Myself and five friends are in the same boat. We decided to do things independently so as not to be ripped off by the UK ‘package’ deal organisers but we failed to get any tickets when they went on sale in Australia so now we are going to have to buy them on Viagogo or such like and get ripped off by the Aussies who are making a killing at our expense! Unless anybody has any other suggestions??

Dilsie Evans says:
17 March 2013

it isn’t the Aussies!!! this viagogo mob are worldwide and seem to have a base in UK!!!

What we need is for all of us or those with spare to meet before the Melbourne match and sell face value the spare ones to honest lions supporters
I have one platinum spare and I am asking face value for this not a cent more
Just need some bar to meet now

@Zaff mate I’ll buy this ticket off you happily!!!

I’m landing in Melbourne on the 25th June flights are booked already and accommodation booked.

If interested please email me email address removed and I’ll arrange it with you?


[Hi Jason and Zaff, we’ve edited this comment as we don’t allow users to post their contact details for privacy reasons. Please contact us for Jason’s contact details – but please note – any transactions you enter into for the sale of tickets are entirely at your own risk. Which? accepts no liability for monies owed and/or for anything related to any of those transactions. Thanks, Mods]

Folks, just come across this site and from reading the comments, I wholeheartedly agree with the rip off situation. I had approx 6 people trying for tickets in Australia and they got 2 for the Melbourne rebels game on the 25th june (midweek game) which at the moment is the only game myself and my 18 y o son are liable to see. Have looked at tickets through e bay etc and they are ridiculous prices.
4 years ago in South Africa I only managed to get tickets through a friend who was a Duban Sharks season ticket holder, although approx 4 – 6 weeks before departure they lions and B A started to offer “hospitality” ticket apckage only – £250.00 a ticket inclusive of couple beers and a soggy burger. They may do the same again this year if the tours don`t sell out, even though it will be at least twice the face value, it would be better than the 4 – 10 times face value currently being asked by the “Aussie Rugby Supporters” at present and I don`t see the prices over there going down the closer it gets to the games. With regards to Zaff`s spare ticket – if not already gone, i would be interested in it for my son so at least he could go to a test match whilst we are over for the tour.

JB says:
1 March 2013

How many people logged on to the websites to buy tickets (or their friends in Aus) prior to the 18th Feb? I knew there was a pre sale for memebers of the ARU or Aussie clubs themselves, but on around the 16th Feb we logged on to check and the ‘pre-sale’ was open to anyone for Ticketek (not ticketmaster for 2nd test). We therefore bought 1st and 3rd Test tickets and Rebels match tickets prior to the scramble on the 18th. We know just need 2nd test tickets which we will have to overpay for…it probably explains why they were sold out within a minute on the day because they had infact been on sale prior to the 9am 18th feb stated date. anyone else come across this?

Zaff says:
7 March 2013

Hi All
Some of you have indicated you would like to buy my spare ticket, I just want all to know I never jioned this forum to sell tickets but to help genuine LION fans, Which will note advertise our contact details on this and I thank them for their integrity (at least some still have this)
My problem is that there are so many of you out there that need tickets but i am only one person with one ticket and I do not wish to get into a Dutch auction as that way I will be as bad as the people we are complaining about.
I am unsure how best to help and a bit stumped how to arrange this.
I think if you could contact Which they will pass on contact info I believe and when I do get this ticket on the 18th May I think first come first serve will be the right way.
So we all undersatnd and let the rip off merchants Know, i ONLY WANT THE EXACT FACE VALUE AND NOT A PENNY MORE.
GUYS if you hppen to be one of the ones that donot get this ticket please understand the difficulty of this situation, and if as I said anyone has spare ones then lets sell only to genuine fans as the feeling you get from this is worth more than any amount of short term money gain.

Mark says:
12 March 2013

I do feel very sorry for you Brits!

As an Australian and mad Wallabies supporter I would be devastated if I traveled to your side of the world and was forced to buy overpriced flights & accommodation just to see my team play. I believe a Lions tour is almost the pinnacle of world rugby, just behind a Rugby World Cup Final!

You could say I was very lucky and was able to secure tickets to all 3 test matches, but with 10+ years experience buying rugby tickets in Australia I had an inside track. I even bought memberships to the Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs to enable access pre-release tickets. (You could have all done the same for $40-60 per membership if you had access to an Australian mailing address).

I have some very thankful British friends who will be attending the Brisbane and Sydney tests with me, and still have 2 spare tickets to the Melbourne test. There should have been an allocation of tickets to the Brits that didn’t require the purchase of a package.

Hi Mark

I thought about taking that approach but didn’t have a postal address.

I’ll buy the spares off you if you are willing?

Me and my gf are going over to Australia and this was the main point of the trip for me. If you are willing, can you ask Which for my contact details and I’ll make arrangements with you?

[Hi Jason, we’ve removed your contact details for privacy reasons. Thanks, Mods]


Rae says:
12 March 2013

Re your 2 spare tickets for Melbourne test – are they for sale ?. I have a friend who lives in Melbourne (who tried to get me tickets but unsuccesful. ) and I would be interested in buying them through him so that I have at least 1 test covered. Can you let me know if you would be interested.

Steve says:
12 March 2013

Hi Mark

I too would be interested in buying your spare tickets – but I am sure everyone on here would!

[Hi Steve, we’ve removed your email address for privacy reasons. Thanks, Mods.]


Dilsie Evans says:
17 March 2013

To all the fans in the UK who are looking for tickets, I can assure you we have had no better luck than you, we live in Melbourne and had no chance at all of getting a ticket!!! It is so annoying cos this website viagogo is offering seats at ridiculous prices!!!

Rae says:
18 March 2013

I appreciate what you are saying but try e bay, the amount of tickets for sale through them from Australian based INDIVIDUALS is ludicrous and has been since 2 hours after tickets “sold out” on 18th Feb.