Earlier this month Eurovision fans went into meltdown when it was revealed that organisers would not sell special ticket packages for dedicated fans. But on the eve of ticket sales, the decision was reversed owing to the hard work of OGAE International — the Eurovision fan club run by fans for fans.
And today the EBU has finally announced that a total of 900 ticket packages will be sold to members of Eurovision fan clubs around the world. Sales started on Monday, February 27 at 11:00 CET. Fan clubs will, of course, have started their internal ballot procedures long before this.
In recent years up to 2,500 fan packages have been made available.
As in previous years, the packages cover the three jury shows and the three televised shows (two semi-finals and grand final). Officials have reserved 100 ticket packages for Ukrainian fan club members, with the remaining 800 split among the more than 40 clubs in Europe and OGAE ROTW (that’s rest of the world).
The news comes following outrage over the lack of fan packages. Fans, the lifeblood of the contest, felt betrayed by the EBU and organisers. Furthermore, fans make for better TV: They’re the ones who wave the flags and get crazy as the cameras pan out and around. Corporate sponsors in suits? Borrrrring.
Eurovision 2017 fan packages
Both the EBU and OGAE are pumping their fists and putting a positive spin on the outcome, which involved a lot of behind-the-scenes negotiations.
EBU Event Supervisor Nadja Burkhardt said:
“After some negotiations, we are pleased that the EBU has been able to help OGAE, UA:PBC and Concert.UA agree on terms for an allocation of fan packages this year. The EBU strongly values the OGAE community’s contribution to Eurovision year on year, and we are delighted that a resolution could be found for the events in Kyiv.”
Simon Bennett, the president of OGAE International, said:
“I am delighted that we are able to continue the long tradition of allowing OGAE members to receive an allocation of tickets to the live Eurovision shows, and very grateful to both UA:PBC and the EBU for their support. Thousands of our members applied for fan ticket packages and whilst we will not be able to offer all of them tickets, the 900 lucky ones will be thrilled that their patience has paid off. Our members are already preparing their flags and will do their best to create that unique Eurovision atmosphere in the arena in May.”
wiwibloggs contacted the EBU for further comment — for instance, we’re curious how they arrived at 900 packages, why negotiations were prolonged, etc. — but they declined to offer any other information at this point.
“We are not providing [interviews] at this stage — as I’m sure you can imagine, everyone is working hard on the preparations for the contest but Nadja has provided a quote in the info [sent to you].”
We don’t know the exact number of packages offered last year, so it’s difficult to compare like for like. But we do know that in recent years up to 2,500 fan packages have been offered. Sources connected to the ticket sales say that the reduced number of packages reflects the fact the arena is smaller than in years past.
Regardless, the 900 packages are a marked decrease from last year.
As a Eurovision fan in the United States, I entered the OGAE ROTW ticket ballot. I was not successful. Last year everyone who entered the ROTW ballot received tickets. This year I was told I was the highest-ranked person who did not get a ticket and I was in the top half of the list. If that’s anything to go by, then my club was allocated about half as many tickets this year.
We dug through our e-mails and found that for Eurovision 2013 OGAE UK received 195 packages. That’s equivalent to a fifth of all packages being offered this year for the 40+ clubs.
Six hundred of the packages are on the floor. The venue says the “fan zone” has room for 1,570 people, and these seats aren’t available through concert.ua. This all suggests that fans — who were worried fan packages would never actually go on sale — previously purchased their tickets in the general ticket sale.
There are already “fan zone” tickets available on viagogo, suggesting that some fans — or touts who snapped them up previously — are now re-selling them.