/ Travel & Leisure

Thomas Cook’s football package prices ‘totally unacceptable’


Thomas Cook’s football packages can cost more than four times as much as buying the match ticket and hotel room separately. Would you fork out a fortune to secure footy tickets that might otherwise not be available?

I’m not much of a football fan, but I am a fan of fairness and it just doesn’t seem fair that wealthy football fans can guarantee themselves a seat at a top Premiership match, whereas those who can’t afford Thomas Cook’s sky-high prices could miss out.

For example, we found that a package to the Liverpool vs Newcastle match in May next year, plus a night’s stay at the Liverpool Hampton Inn, costs £455 with Thomas Cook Sport. But if you were to buy the ticket and the hotel room separately it would only cost you just £107!

Well, Thomas Cook says that it guarantees fans’ tickets to events that, in some cases, aren’t available to purchase separately:

‘Any comparison to Premiership tickets and separately purchased hotel rooms relies on having successfully obtained all those tickets and a hotel room on the date that is required.’

But to my mind, that just makes it worse – it gives unfair ticketing priority to those prepared to pay a premium. I spoke to Football Supporter’s Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke, and he agreed:

‘Thomas Cook’s packages allow people to jump the queue for tickets to popular matches simply because they are rich enough to afford these ludicrous prices. That’s totally unacceptable.’

Join the club for cheaper tickets

Football ticket pricesClearly Thomas Cook does offer a service for those who want to secure Premiership tickets in advance. For example, those coming from overseas, or buying tickets as a birthday present, or planning a special occasion. But it’s quite a premium to pay for peace of mind.

If you don’t want to pay these inflated prices, we found that you’re better off becoming a member of the club, in order to get priority tickets – even if you only go to one game in the season.

For example, becoming a member of Chelsea FC at a cost of £25 would allow you to buy tickets for the Man Utd game in January, two weeks before the general public. The total cost of membership, a ticket and the hotel is £176, whereas Thomas Cook’s package price is £495.

But even becoming a member doesn’t guarantee you football tickets. High demand games sell out very quickly, and if you miss out, you could be tempted to pay Thomas Cook’s match break prices.

Have you secured tickets to a sold-out match through a match-break package? Did you think it was worth it? And do you think it’s fair that Thomas Cook, as official partner to some of the Barclays Premier League’s top teams, should be able to give ticketing priority for high demand games?


I’m not sure what the problem is here. It’s a simple case of supply and demand, and prices consequently reflecting this. Rich people will be able to afford it and poor people won’t. This is one of the downsides of living in a free market economy rather than communism for example. Unless Thomas Cook is giving a misleading indication of price or engaging in another unfair commercial practice, I don’t see what it is doing wrong. If some people are rich enough or stupid enough to pay these high prices, then they are free to do so. If they didn’t, then Thomas Cook wouldn’t succeed in charging these prices. Nevertheless it is helpful of Which to point out that these packages are poor value for money which will enable consumers to make a more informed decision.

It has nothing to do with a free market economy. Ontarians (Canadians who live in Ontario), even the poor stupid ones, can buy tickets to their favourite hockey team at no more than face value, thanks to the Ticket Speculation Act. Basically both buyers and sellers of tickets are guilty of an offence, and liable to a fine of up to CND 5000, if they speculate or trade in tickets above face value.

Perhaps the members of HM Government don’t have problems obtaining tickets to any sporting or cultural events – often subsidised by the taxpayer – that they choose to attend, so maybe they don’t recognise the need for legislation either.

It seems to me even the prices of standard sports events tickets are set very high – so still a supply and demand free market situation. Another way is to have a sensible price but ballot tickets so everyone has the same chance. But these are businesses setting out to make the best return on their investment – should you have any right to interfere with it?