At the urging of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), Ticketmaster is taking the unusual step of providing the group with a list of seat locations for which duplicate tickets were mistakenly issued to the upcoming Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Late last month, the NATB notified Sugar Bowl officials that the group had learned that a host of tickets to the January 4 college football game had been duplicated, and Ticketmaster was quietly notifying purchasers to destroy one of the duplicates. More than 2,000 tickets were duplicated for the game, which is scheduled to be played in the Louisiana Superdome between Ohio State and Arkansas.
How the tickets were mistakenly duplicated was not disclosed, but in an email to NATB counsel Gary Adler, Robert Wernick, general counsel for Ticketmaster, said the company was following the wishes of the Allstate Sugar Bowl by furnishing the list. In a letter last month to Stacey Castillo, director of Ticket Operations for the bowl, Adler argued that ticket brokers should receive the list because many of them are reselling tickets to the event and they want to avoid problems.
“At the request of our client, we are hereby forwarding to you the list of seat locations for which duplicate tickets were printed and sent to customers,” Wernick wrote, making clear that such a move is typically against the company’s policy, but that it is making an exception in this case. “We are cooperating with the Sugar Bowl in an effort to avoid any potential problems that may occur from the duplication of tickets.”
Ticketmaster is not canceling the tickets and reissuing new ones, instead it is notifying purchasers of the mistake and warning them not to try to use or resell the ticket but destroy it. The NATB had suggested Ticketmaster cancel the tickets and issue new ones.
Considering the number of touch points an event ticket might go through, from a promoter or team, the box office or venue, sponsors, ticket companies, resellers and others, ticketing mistakes are bound to occur on occasion. Several theatergoers to a performance of the “Lion King” this month in Virginia were sold duplicate Broadway Across America tickets for the show, for example. And, just a week prior to the Allstate Sugar Bowl mix up, Ticketmaster mistakenly sold $25 Kenny Chesney tickets that should have sold for $99.50.
“Ticket barcodes will be scanned at all entry points for this event and if the duplicate tickets enter the event prior to the original ticket purchaser, the original ticket purchaser will be denied entry,” Wernick wrote about the Allstate Sugar Bowl. He also made it clear that Ticketmaster is not admitting to any wrongdoing in connection with the situation. “In response, Ticketmaster is taking all reasonable steps to inform consumers of the situation in order to ensure that our customers are satisfied. We encourage the NATB and its members to do the same.”
He added, “Please be advised that Ticketmaster will not be responsible for the action or inaction of the NATB or its members in connection with the sale or resale of such tickets.”