Manchester United fans queued for hours for tickets to a game this summer in Hong Kong, only to find that even the most expensive seats available were in the corner of the stadium.
The game on July 29 will match local team Kitchee against the English Premier League stars, and fans began queuing for tickets 24 hours before they went on sale at 10am at the Tom Lee Music Store in Tsim Sha Tsui on Wednesday.
But for members of the public even the most expensive seats available – those priced at HK$990 – were in the stadium’s corners, instead of in more desirable midfield areas.
By the time the 18,000 tickets available for the public went on sale, more than 100 people had queued up. One of the first buyers in line had been waiting for 24 hours. The tickets were sold out in four and a half hours.
Of the rest of 40,000 tickets available for the event, 11,000 went to Manchester United, some went the event’s sponsor Aon, and some to attract overseas supporters.
The Tourism Board was given 4,000 tickets to make available to travel agents, who are required to develop package deals before applying to buy the tickets.
Kitchee, who organised the match by getting HK$8 million from the Tourism Commission’s Mega Events Fund, got 3,600 tickets to be shared with others in the local football community.
A Kitchee spokeswoman said the tickets were allocated by the government and Manchester United, not the local football club.
Jacky Lau, who works in sales, joined the queue at 2pm on Tuesday. He bought six tickets, the limit for one customer, paying HK$990 each.
He complained that it was unfair that the public were given access to less than half the seats – most of which were less than ideally situated. “The most expensive tickets left for the public are awful seats,” he said. All but the dearest seats were in the highest tier of the stadium.
Ticket scalpers were already reselling the tickets on auction websites on Wednesday. One seller was offering six tickets worth HK$790 each, for a total of HK$20,000 – or about four times the original price.
The Red Devils last played in Hong Kong eight years ago.