Ticketmaster working to improve service after Packers fans' problems buying playoff tickets, but says most issues were user error.
Ticketmaster will work to improve its online buying process in response to the difficulties Green Bay Packers fans had in acquiring limited tickets to last season's two playoff games at Lambeau Field.
However, the company told the team that most of the problems fans experienced were the result of user error and outside the company's control.
The situation was exacerbated by there being so few tickets and a lot of people who wanted them. Nearly 11,000 eligible season ticket accounts vied for 1,600 pods representing 6,500 tickets. The Packers allowed limited numbers of fans for the two home playoff games because of the coronavirus pandemic. Paying fans were not allowed for any regular-season games during the 2020 season.
The Packers said 94% of tickets for the playoff games were sold in the first 15 minutes of the sales.
The inevitable collisions, which is the term Ticketmaster uses when a lot of people are trying to claim the same seats at the same time, created much frustration among would-be ticket buyers.
Numerous fans complained of being in the queue early, getting to the section where they could choose seats, and, when doing so, being told the seats were unavailable and getting kicked to the rear of the line instead of being able to move on to other seats. Some reported receiving error messages and getting bumped out of the selection window.
User error did not appear to be the only reason fans were unsuccessful buying tickets.
Troy Roovers, a season ticket holder who lives in Minnesota, bought tickets for the first playoff game, but had a different experience for the NFL championship game. The system told Roovers he was No. 393 in the queue, but when he selected his seats, he was kicked to the back of the line.
"Unlike the prior week, which went smoothly, this time when I selected two seats that appeared available and clicked 'purchase', the system said those seats were not available and kicked me out. I re-entered the waiting room and there were now over 2,000 guests waiting," he wrote in a January email.
Ticketmaster did not provide a representative for an interview about the problems.
Fans who were unsuccessful had no other options to get tickets for the games. The Packers made the electronic-only tickets non-transferable, so there was no secondary market.
Tickets were not transferable as part of the Packers' effort to provide a coronavirus-safe experience. The team said it wanted people in pods of two, four and six seats to come from individual households, although there were instances of fans winking at that requirement. Fans also were required to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Ticketmaster and the Packers said some issues were the result of fans not having a Ticketmaster account before attempting purchases, and of others going directly to Ticketmaster and not using the team-provided link to access the sale. If fans attempted to share the link with friends or family, the system prohibited more than one computer access from the same link.
"Some ticket holders who had accessed the ticket-purchase window through the general ticketmaster.com event page and not the team-provided link were able to choose tickets, but then were removed from the sale and sent back to the beginning of the queue upon trying to complete their purchase," said Aaron Popkey, Packers director of public affairs.
Ticketmaster is the official secondary marketplace for the NFL, but there are numerous other companies providing the service, including Vivid Seats, with which the Packers had a partnership through the 2020 season.
With the NFL and the Packers anticipating full stadiums in 2021, the secondary marketplaces will again be busy. They already listed tickets after the NFL released the scheduled for the first week of the season on Wednesday morning.
Vivid Seats offers the following tips for a good online buying experience:
- Be wary of buying tickets on social media. Only shop on secure platforms where you know your information will be kept safe.
- Buy from trusted websites that stand behind their tickets (Vivid Seats has a 100% Buyer Guarantee)
- Never share photos of tickets online
- Make the most of your purchase, such as using sites with rewards programs.
- If you’re buying from a site with an app, download the app to get notifications, updates etc., and don’t forget to check your email.
- Be prepared to follow any COVID-19 protocols at stadiums. Make sure your phone is charged, since your ticket likely will be mobile. (The Packers have not said if they will issue paper tickets this season, but many NFL teams are going to all-electronic ticketing).
- Create an account with a marketplace you might use in advance of sales, especially if, as in the case of the Packers playoff games, you expect high demand and a limited time to buy.
Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/