Christmas lights ballot

Christmas lights ballot

Emails have now been sent to those who applied for tickets to the Glasgow Loves Christmas lights switch on. We understand that some of you may be disappointed, but this year we received 309,422 ticket requests - enough to fill George Square more than 19 times over! Please read below for more info.

Why do you need a ticket to the event?
Glasgow's Christmas Lights Switch On at George Square is a popular event in the city's calendar and officially marks the start of the festive period in Glasgow. Since the number of potential attendees exceeds the physical space available within the square, a means of managing spectator numbers is required.

Why are tickets allocated via an online ballot system?
As demand for tickets has gradually increased over the past few years, the pressure on both box office systems and with 'first-come, first-served' queues meant that many more people were disappointed.

The ballot system gives everyone a two week window in which to apply for tickets online without having to wait in a physical queue or apply by phone. If applicants don't have access to the internet they can visit any of the 33 Glasgow Libraries where staff are happy to assist.

The capacity of George Square is 16,000. Each household is entitled to request up to six tickets. In 2018, we received 309,422 ticket requests from 64,782 households. Individual tickets requested would fill George Square more than 19 times over.

The ballot system means that everyone can apply for tickets and are not required to secure tickets at a specific time or day.

How is the ballot operated?
Via an online form you fill in your details and how many tickets you require. The data is then sorted by a third party to identify Glasgow residents and those outwith - 93% of tickets are allocated to those within Glasgow and 7% outwith. The data is then verified by a process to ensure no duplicate entries are entered into the ballot using email address, household address and name.

The successful applicants are then chosen at random, to ensure the system is fair to all. There is no human intervention in this process – it is all carried out by computer software by a third party.

Should any applications be chosen that do not have a full postal address we will contact the applicant at this stage to confirm details.

Who chooses who gets tickets?
The computer software of a third party chooses successful applicants at random.

How many tickets are available for the event?
The capacity for this event is 16,000 up from 13,191 in 2015. The capacity, which takes into consideration the fireworks exclusion zone, is calculated by Glasgow Life in accordance with national guidance and approved by the Licensing Committee, Police Scotland and Building Control & Public Safety.

2,000 tickets have been allocated for local residents and businesses affected by road closures, to Young Glasgow competition winners and to guests of the city.

Any returned/unused tickets from the above categories will be allocated to people who applied in the ballot in the same process and criteria as before.

Why do people from outwith Glasgow get allocated tickets?
Glasgow is a welcoming city for tourists, workers and visitors. We prioritise event tickets for citizens, while ensuring there is a proportion available for visitors to the city.

How many tickets are issued in the ballot?
14,000 – 93% to Glasgow households and 7% outwith.

What are the odds of me getting a ticket?
We received a total of 64,782 unique applications for tickets in 2018 requesting 309,422 tickets. Of those 175,421 tickets were requested from addresses with a Glasgow postcode. 13,020 tickets were available to these Glasgow applications so if you have a Glasgow postcode, your chances of being successful are around 13 to 1.

We received 134,001 ticket requests from outside Glasgow with 980 available. If you requested tickets from a non-Glasgow address your chances of being successful is around 137 to 1.

I think the same people get the tickets every year – why is this?
Computer software doesn't discriminate with regard to choosing who is successful - everyone has the same chance when they enter.

Why can't we go back to the old way of first-come, first served?
As above, the ballot system is more fair and equitable and allows people to apply over a two week period without having to wait in a physical queue or apply by phone.

What are you going to do about people selling the tickets online?
We are very aware of the emotional attachment that people have to the Glasgow Christmas Lights Switch On and take every opportunity to remind those lucky enough to have tickets to use them on the night and not to sell them for profit. It is strictly prohibited to sell tickets, as per our terms and conditions.

Do employees of Glasgow City Council get priority for tickets?
No they do not.

I didn't receive an email to tell me if I was successful or not – what do I do?
There are various reasons why you may have not received an email.

Firstly, we ask you to check your spam folder as your mail provider may automatically send it there. Another reason may be due to a duplicate entry being received for your household address. If either your email address or postal address was used for more than one application, one of them was removed before the draw so an email would not have been sent. It may be that the email just didn't arrive into your server or was blocked by your email provider or that the email address was added incorrectly to your application.

If you have been through this process and can't find your email, please call 0141 287 8080.

How are returned tickets re-allocated?
Any tickets returned are allocated to previously unsuccessful applicants in a second ballot. Those applicants are emailed advising them of their win in advance of the event.

Can I request tickets for a charity or event I am running?
Unfortunately we don't have any ticket allocation to fulfill special requests.

Please visit Glasgow Loves Christmas for more information.