Another week, another load of questions around Whitecaps ticketing issues. I know, we’re starting to bore ourselves with it all now.
Last week we raised the issue of Toronto fan ticketing for our MLS opener on March 19th and when we broke the news that there had been a “communication error” when it came to what section the TFC fans would be in, this was the first that the Toronto fans had heard of it.
Duane Rollins from the 24th Minute blog and It’s Called Football podcast, spoke to a Whitecaps representative last week who said they weren’t worried about pockets of BC based TFC fans being scattered around the stadium and that the concern had been of large groups of TFC fans but this was all in hand. I’m sure this was news to some of the Toronto fans who have been trying to finalise their trips.
All of this was just the latest in a long line of ticketing decisions and problems that have angered Whitecaps fans – and now fans of other MLS teams too.
With so much happening, let’s just bring everyone up to speed…
First there was all the furore about ticket prices, then the problems many fans had with trying to select their seats online through the software in place, followed by the problems of trying to get the Whitecaps to actually take payment for their tickets (I had to wait till mid January before the first half of my order was processed).
We’ve also had the Cascadia away fans ticket limits issue and the initial problems Caps fans had in getting tickets to the Cascadia Summit pre-season tournament in March, when the Whitecaps ticketing department only communicated to fans that they could indeed buy the Vancouver allocation of tickets from them – a week after the general sale had taken place on Ticketmaster.
Then came the Toronto fans ticketing issues around how many tickets they could get, how they could get them, what section they would be in at the stadium and what restrictions would be imposed on them.
We should point out here that the individual ticket reps at the Caps have been fantastic, patient and tried to answer everyone’s questions as much as they can. I can’t speak highly enough of them. It’s those higher ups in the ticketing department that need to have a long hard look at themselves.
So on to the latest developments…
As we revealed what seems to have been ages ago now, Ticketmaster were advertising that Whitecaps single game tickets would be going on sale to the general public on Saturday February 19th. This information was later confirmed by the Whitecaps themselves.
However, on Friday afternoon, this all changed and it was announced that the general sale would be pushed back until 10am on Wednesday February 23rd and only tickets to the first three home games would be available to purchase. The reason given for the delay was that:
“Due to continued high demand for season tickets, Whitecaps FC have extended an exclusive window for season ticket holders to purchase single match tickets prior to tickets going on sale to the general public”.
A little late in communicating this fact but fair enough. You want to try and get as many packages sold for the entire season as you can and then open up the free for all for the single game tickets. No problems at all with that.
Some disagree with this decision, but as long as the season ticket holders aren’t planning on buying additional tickets to tout, I feel this was the right decision and a good perk for those that have shelled out for season tickets.
Most season ticket holders received an email on Friday afternoon advising them that they had an exclusive window to buy additional single game tickets for friends and family from 10am on Saturday until 10pm the day before the general sale begins this coming Wednesday. A special pre-sale access code was provided.
This though is then where the latest problems and concerns began.
Tickets for Toronto fans in their allocated “away” section are due to go on sale on Thursday February 24th (if this has subsequently changed, please let us know). Some TFC fans are worried about missing out or are wanting to finalise their trips but want to know that they definitely have a ticket first.
Many have talked about just trying to buy tickets in the general sale and the Southsiders Director of Events, who is repsonible for the group’s away travel plans, confirmed to AFTN that Toronto fans have been contacting him “like crazy” trying to get tickets for the match. Demand certainly seems to be higher than the 60 or so fans that the Caps FO think are going to be there to cheer on Toronto.
Many fans have been trying to find out the pre-sale code to get tickets even earlier and, somewhat worryingly, this code was easily found on a general football forum for anyone to use to buy tickets.
This is a huge to concern to both AFTN and the Southsiders. It should also be a big concern to the Whitecaps FO.
I’m not wanting any extra tickets for the first three matches, but I tried the pre-sale code just to see what it came up with. I was horrified that I could have bought 8 seats in my section of the Southside and not only that, there was no indication to anyone buying the tickets, whether they be Toronto fans or families, that this is in fact the supporters section of the stadium.
So basically, Toronto fans can buy tickets to anywhere in the ground and in blocks of up to 8 at a time as well. And they will, especially the BC based ones who aren’t members of the Red Patch Boys and U-Sector. Remember there has been trouble at the last couple of Voyageurs Cup matches at Swangard. If this method is not a disaster waiting to happen then I don’t know what is.
You can say I’m being a bit overdramatic but there’s none so blind as those who cannot see. I’m not a business expert in any way, shape or form. but my 20 years experience in it has taught me to always consider the worst case scenario. That’s what we have here.
ANY trouble at our opening game is not only going to affect Vancouver fans but also travelling fans league wide. It only takes two drunken idiots to start a big rammy. I hope it won’t happen and the best way to make sure that it doesn’t is proper ticket distribution.
Do the Caps want to see positive headlines about the coming of MLS or newspaper headlines screaming “Football hooliganism comes to Vancouver”?
Also, away from the TFC fans aspect of all this, I wouldn’t want to be the poor family or elderly couple that will now find themselves surrounded by an all singing, all dancing and all standing crowd in the Southside. Let’s just hope that the PNE security staff are properly briefed that this is what that section is.
I wonder what other ticketing trials and tribulations are going to occur in the next few weeks. I still haven’t received or been charged for my Cascadia Summit tickets and we have the whole season ticket distribution still to come. Call me foolish, but I believe that this will all go according to plan. I have to really, otherwise we’re going to have a very angry opening day line up at the will call windows.
It really is a shame that the marketing and media teams at the Caps are knocking themselves out with trying to raise the profile, promote the club and present a highly polished and professional image whilst at the same time the seemingly never ending ticketing clusterfucks are making the club look anything but ‘major league’.