Ticketmaster recently sent out an unknown number of duplicate tickets to several purchasers, which could pose a serious problem for the January 4, 2011, game should any of them be resold. Teams have not been chosen for the game yet, but it is one of five major bowls to make up the Bowl Championship Series that crowns the nation’s top college football teams.
According to the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), the advocacy group that represents ticket brokers around the country, Ticketmaster has quietly sent out e-mails to purchasers who received the duplicate tickets and asked those individuals to destroy one of the duplicates. However, the company has not notified the general public about the mistake, and it apparently has not canceled the tickets and issued new ones.
The duplicate tickets are identical, hard copy tickets, so theoretically one could be resold to an unsuspecting fan who would have purchased a legitimate ticket. If both fans showed up to the game with the same ticket it could create a logistical nightmare at the gate.
In a letter to ticketing officials for the Louisiana Superdome, the site of the game, NATB legal counsel Gary Adler spelled out the group’s concerns and offered some suggestions on how to handle the mix up. The NATB also sent out an email to is membership to warn them about the mistake.
“Specifically, we have been informed that many tickets to the Sugar Bowl delivered by Ticketmaster were duplicated. In other words, a purchaser received two identical tickets for each seat purchased,” Adler wrote. “It is also our understanding that the public has not been notified of this mistake. Rather, Ticketmaster is simply informing the purchaser through an e-mail that he or she should destroy one of the duplicates. NATB’s concern is that consumers may ignore the note from Ticketmaster and sell the duplicate set. Such a situation would, of course, wreck havoc on the day of the event as people were denied entry.”
Ticketmaster is a division of Live Nation Entertainment; a spokesperson for the company did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment. Earlier this month, Ticketmaster mistakenly sold an undisclosed number of Kenny Chesney tickets for $25 each to an upcoming Philadelphia concert, when the tickets were supposed to be priced at $99.50, according to the company. The tickets were canceled, even though purchasers had been charged the $25 price and received their tickets, which raised questions of fairness. Ticketmaster’s term of use and purchasing policies discuss how the company reserves the right to cancel tickets in the event of a pricing mistake, and it gave purchasers of the Chesney tickets the option of receiving a refund or buying the higher priced tickets.
The NATB criticized Ticketmaster for the Chesney ticket mix up, and the group suggested options for Sugar Bowl officials to deal with the duplicate problem. The NATB has worked with the NFL in the past ticketing mistakes have occurred.
“Of course, we do not want to dictate the procedures and policies of your office or Allstate Sugar Bowl officials,” Adler added. “We respectfully suggest, however, that you (i) share with NATB the list of tickets that were duplicated so we can inform our Members; (ii) cancel the tickets that were mistakenly duplicated and issue replacement tickets; and (iii) inform the public of the mistake.”
Superdome officials did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.