Ticketmaster has been in the news quite a bit lately, and for all of the wrong reasons. Yet, despite the rhetoric of performers, venues and lawmakers, nothing ever seems to be done about all of its wrongdoings.
When tickets for the upcoming tour by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band went on sale in February, potential ticket buyers, myself included, were left out in the cold. It seems that Ticketmaster conveniently decided to perform “routine maintenance” seconds after tickets to see one of the most popular artists in the world were made available for sale. But fear not, fans of The Boss: Tickets were available through TicketsNow, an online ticket broker selling seats at 10 times their face value. In a shocking coincidence, would anyone care to take a guess which company owns TicketsNow? If you guessed Ticketmaster, you are correct, but you win nothing.
Then, as if the entire process of trying to get Yankees tickets for the 2009 season hasn’t been enough of a fiasco, I read about this gem on a blog called New Stadium Insider. Apparently, a potential customer shelled out $900 for a ticket for Opening Day (don’t even get me started on the Yankees’ ticket prices), only to go through the Ticketmaster process and find that he was given a completely different ticket, nowhere near as good as his original seat, while the original ticket was relisted at $2,650. Someone spending $9 on a ticket should be entitled to the location they were promised, much less someone spending $900.
Then this morning, a good friend whom I had e-mailed information about a presale for U2 tickets informed me that Ticketmaster was pulling the exact same scam for U2 that it did for Springsteen — saying the site was down for maintenance and directing people to TicketsNow. Unreal.
Those three examples aside, anyone who has ever tried to get tickets has experienced the following scenario. Say, hypothetically, tickets to see Rush become available at 10 a.m. Why is it that upon getting through to the Ticketmaster system at 15 seconds after 10 a.m., the only seats available in a 20,000-seat arena are in the upper sections? Are we expected to believe that 12,000 or so of the 20,000 seats were sold in 15 seconds? Yet, should you surf to any online ticket broker, the prime seats that were never made available to you are mysteriously right there for the taking — at several times face value, naturally.
I really wish more performers, teams and operators of venues would follow the lead of Pearl Jam 15 years ago and fight Ticketmaster in every way possible. It’s sad that Pearl Jam tried to take a stand in 1994 and, 15 years later, the situation has gotten worse, not better.
Ticketmaster should be brought to its knees. Will anyone have the guts to do it? I doubt it.