As I continue to sell more and more hospitality packages for English soccer games, especially the Premier League, there are a few questions that keep coming up. So I thought I would offer a bit more information on the process.
First, what’s a hospitality package? Essentially it’s a seat at a game plus some kind of benefit. That could be anything from access to a private lounge to a full-on buffet with a full free bar. It all just depends on the package and the club, and some clubs offer quite a few options. Note that a few packages, especially at clubs below the Premier League, really are just seats.
I should note that when I say “access to” a lounge or a suite, I don’t mean the seats are in there; I mean you have regular (sometimes better than regular) seats with access to an indoor hospitality area.
Often, and especially with the big Premier League clubs, going for one of these packages is the only fully legit wait to get into a game. Demand for those tickets is so high, and the stadiums so relatively small, that buying regular Premier League tickets for the big clubs is virtually impossible without resorting to third-party sites like Stubhub, etc. And while they are ubiquitous, they are almost all illegal, as well.
How Is It That I Can Sell Hospitality Packages?
I am registered with a licensed broker called Champions Travel, based in Dublin. They have contracts with almost all the Premier League clubs and many of the Championship clubs (and many other clubs in Europe, as well) to buy a block of tickets for every home game. For example, Liverpool has many different hospitality packages, and Champions gets a bunch of several for every game at Anfield. I, then, can purchase seats in these areas and sell them to you.
Sometimes people want to make sure I’m legit, which I can certainly understand. You can contact Champions Travel via their website and confirm that Groundhopper Soccer Guides is a reseller. You can also confirm that Champions Travel is legit on the PremierLeague.com website. And you can read reviews of my services on Google.
This leads me to an important point: I sell these packages, but I don’t have them. In other words, I can sell you seats in the Centenary package at Chelsea, but I don’t have a stack of them on my desk. I simply tell the broker to reserve tickets in your name; in fact, I never see your tickets at all, unless they happen to be emailed out.
What is the Sales Process?
It starts with you getting in touch with me to ask about a particular game, or maybe taking advantage of my travel consulting services. Then I send you a quote based on availability that day, with a price guaranteed for seven days, assuming tickets are still available. If availability is tight, I will let you know on quoting, but I have had people lose out on a package they wanted because they waited to pull the trigger.
Once you tell me what you want, I send a PayPal invoice, which you can pay through that service or with a credit or debit card. From that moment on, I cannot offer refunds. This is why it’s important to note that sometimes schedules change. I will be clear about that during the quoting and invoicing process, but you’ll want to make sure that kickoff times and days coincide with your travel plans before making your purchase with me.
What Does a Hospitality Package Cost?
If you force me to name an average price, I would say something like $250 US each. But there is a whole lot of variation, and you can read more about that in this post.
How Do Your Hospitality Tickets Get to You?
This varies with club and package, and it is also affected by your travel plans. Here are the basic routes:
- Tickets are emailed out to me a few days before the game, and I forward them on to you.
- Tickets are delivered to your UK hotel a day or two before the game.
- If you’re not staying in a hotel, we use a central London hotel as a drop-off point; simply ask the concierge desk for tickets left in your name.
- Outside London, if you’re not staying in a hotel, we put our courier in touch with you and they arrange to meet.
- It’s sometimes possible to have tickets overnighted via DHL to the States, usually for a $75 fee.
Why can’t you get them sooner? This is a question that comes up on occasion, and it’s all about the relationship between the club, the broker, and me. I don’t have the tickets, and the broker can’t deliver them until they are released by the club. So I can’t get them to you any sooner than usual — with the occasional exception of the DHL service mentioned above.
You Don’t Want “Hospitality”; Why Can’t You Just Buy Tickets?
I totally get it. But like I said above, getting regular tickets from the big Premier League clubs — which is what 90% of you want — is basically impossible. This leaves you with two options; the third-party “tout” market, and folks like me.
Besides, there is a lot to be said for (A) knowing you’re getting legit tickets at a fair price, (B) getting some perks with the experience and (C) having a nice warm place for you or your companions to go to while the rain pours down and/or the post-game crowds clear out around the stadium.
All in all, a hospitality package for a Premier League game can be a great experience.