Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Another Look at Ticket Gate

The ticket cancelation emails that Real Salt Lake mentioned last night did go out from Ticket Master today. Anyone that utilized the leaked code, 13STMCUP did not have their tickets go through.

Today though as the dust has cleared there's been a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications of the process. First season ticket holders who purchased playoff packages had the chance to do a preorder for their tickets for MLS Cup starting an hour after Sporting's Eastern Conference final ended (this is when I purchased my ticket, shortly after I got home from the game).

After that came a Visa pre-sale and then the pre-sale to season ticket holders, specifically those who had not purchased the playoff package. And this is where the issue started to occur. During the presale, season ticket holders were sent an email with a link to get into their Account Manager. When they logged in their tickets for MLS Cup were there for them to purchase. Where the issue occurred was the code, 13STMCUP. According to the team's chief revenue officer Jake Reid, the code was only there for ticket holders who had trouble logging into the account manager.

The code leaked onto the net with reports stating the first location was in the comments section of a KC Star article. Once on the net, as things tend to do, it spread like wildfire and according to reports, close to 1,000 tickets were purchased using that code. The code even got retweeted by the RSL twitter account (later deleted). How the code originally was leaked was not known, but the code itself isn't hard so it's not a stretch to think someone guessed it.

However it leaked, a number of RSL fans jumped on the chance to purchase the tickets and once it was realized what was going on, the code was made invalid and the shit storm started. The issue became so big that MLS felt the need to put out a statement regarding what went down with the ticket process. The announcement by the league though puts a lot of blame on RSL fans, which is probably not entirely fair. Yes the code was not for them, which is why they deserve some of the blame, it was known to most of the people I read about that the code was a KC STH code, but many used it anyway. On the other hand blame lies with MLS, Ticket Master and KC in the situation because of how the situation went down. The code should have likely not been valid yet, and probably should have been a little harder to guess. The other issue with the code is that it did not put any sort of limit on purchases, I know of a KC fan that was able to purchase 16 South Stand tickets that he was in turn trying to sell.

So the RSL fans were back to square one with either going through their team for ticket allocation. They were allocated 1,000 tickets, but apparently a number of those tickets went to sponsors, families, and other groups that were not necessarily the die hards.

Obviously many are still not happy, but Ticket Master is well within their rights according to their purchase policy, which states: If the amount you pay for a ticket is incorrect regardless of whether because of an error in a price posted on this Site or otherwise communicated to you, or you are able to order a ticket before its scheduled on-sale or presale date or you are able to order a ticket that was not supposed to have been released for sale, then we will have the right to cancel that ticket (or the order for that ticket) and refund to you the amount that you paid. This will apply regardless of whether because of human error or a transactional malfunction of this website or other Ticketmaster operated system.

That seems a pretty cut and dry reason for the tickets being invalidated.

Other blame can be put on MLS as well, according to their media guide for MLS Cup, "the match will be operated by League Office staff and its designees.”

The way I read that, the league is controlling the game and the preparations for it.

So there's plenty of blame to go around to all parties involved in this.

The whole ticket situation has brought up the question of whether the game should be moved to the 76,000 seat Arrowhead Stadium, giving more RSL fans the chance to purchase tickets. There are issues with that though. First by December, the field is a mess from a number of football games on it, with both KC and RSL likely to play a lot of balls on the deck; it'd cause problems for both teams. Second, Peter Vermes has designed his team to be able to take advantage of the field size at Sporting Park. A move to Arrowhead would see a much narrower and shorter field that would not work as well with the way Vermes likes to play, and with KC earning home field advantage they should be able to play at their home field. This brings me to the third point, which is that Sporting KC wants to show off their stadium, not Arrowhead. Sporting KC want their stadium to get the exposure of being on national TV, they don't want to forfeit that chance for the game to be played at Arrowhead. And that's all without discussing how many people would show up to the game at Arrowhead. Even a crowd of 30,000 to 40,000 would leave 30,000 to 40,000 empty seats in the stadium for the league's marquee match up.

It's a sucky situation, especially for RSL fans that after purchasing tickets through the invalid code went out and bought airline tickets and booked a hotel. But there is blame for each group involved in this.


Anonymous said...

They purchased tix using a stolen code. Sorry but I don't see much cause for sympathy.

Anonymous said...

I see even less sympathy for an @$$hat that purchases a bunch of tickets just to resell them. Obviously the intent is to sell them for more than what they paid for and make some money, which has always bothered me. I know there are a lot of season ticket holders that would like extra tickets, but can't get them because of their initial buying limit on pre-orders and their inability to beat the rush mid-day when they go on sale and they are at work.

Anonymous said...

So MLS thinks they can do a better job of selling tickets than the SKC front office can? Infuriating. But out MLS and let SKC management do what SCK management does best, and that is sell out Sporting Park week in and week out. No one asked for your interference.