Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center, which hosted a Justin Bieber concert last night, November 10, struggled under the weight of the tour’s paperless ticketing requirement, as hundreds of fans faced long delays and credit card issues before gaining entry.
The show marked the 22,000-seat Kentucky arena’s first concert to utilize paperless ticketing, which is provided by Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster division. Scanners used at several gates reportedly failed, which resulted in many fans standing in long lines at the center’s customer service windows to have the situation corrected.
With most of Bieber’s fans being young children and teen-agers, emotions ran high as the delays mounted and tempers grew short, reported WHAS-TV. (See the video below.)
Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing system was created in part to thwart street ticket scalping, and limit or eliminate ticket resale by brokers. To gain entry at a paperless event, the ticket buyer must swipe the credit card they used for the purchase, and sometimes also show other identification. The system has been used for a growing number of tours, including recent ones by Miley Cyrus and John Mayer.
Some artists and venue operators have praised the Ticketmaster paperless system, and many concerts utilizing it have come off without a hitch. Yet, many in the broker community, including StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis, have complained that Ticketmaster’s offering creates hassles for customers and prohibits them from using cash or buying tickets at the venue box office. They also complain that the system makes simple transfers of tickets to friends or family difficult or impossible.
“It was a mess,” one Midwestern ticket broker told TicketNews, who said he waited outside of Wednesday’s Bieber show to swipe in several customers. He requested anonymity because he also has paperless tickets to several upcoming Bieber shows and said he feared retaliation.
The broker had a total of about 20 customers — in separate groups — who he had to swipe in, and he had problems with the scanners taking his credit card each time.
“Everyone around me was having the same trouble,” he added. “It’s illegal in New York to do [paperless ticketing as the only option], and they should make it illegal everywhere.”
In July, exiting New York Gov. David Paterson signed into law a ticket resale bill that requires consumers receive a choice between paperless or traditional paper tickets at check out. The law was partly designed to avoid the type of problems that occurred in Louisville Wednesday night.
A spokesperson for the KFC Yum! Center did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Of seven upcoming events listed on the arena’s Web site — last night’s concert had not yet been removed from the site — only the Bieber show was paperless.