Baseball fans in Texas are griping after Thursday’s opening day at Globe Life Park saw major entry delays, causing the stadium to appear empty – despite an announced sellout – until well after the first pitch.
|EDIT: Apparently the delays stretched far beyond Texas. Deadspin.com has a roundup on yesterday’s mobile-only debacle – ‘Hell is Trying to Get Into a Ballpark on Opening Day‘ – including this tidbit: “According to a source at the Phillies game, one security guard said that teams’ move to paperless tickets were to blame, as fans would get to the front of the line, attempt to use the official app that contained their tickets, and then watch helplessly as the app would fail.”|
“Impatient to angry fans waited in line at the home plate entry for as much as 45 minutes, leaving a lot of empty seats well into the second and even third inning” writes Mac Engel in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. “Fans could be heard complaining quite loudly, many using colorful for-letter words, during their wait.”
Not coincidentally, the game was the first for the team’s increased push to digital-only ticketing.
“We did make the change described below in increased digital ticketing,” reads a statement issued by the team following the brouhaha. “That may have caused some more questions when people went through the gates but the scanning process went pretty smoothly. Fans who held tickets for today were informed of this change in advance.”
“Ultimately, all of the lines were gone by 3:45, 37 minutes after first pitch. And that is about the same timing as the last several years.”
Rather than lay the blame on pushing consumers into tickets that are exclusively tied to their mobile devices, the team blamed a myriad of other possible reasons for the crunch, including tailgating and hanging out at the Texas Live! Area outside of the ballpark. But there is a long history of mobile-only ticketing leading to major headaches for fans trying to get into events, particularly ones where large crowds are expected.
Fans were forced to wait out long delays in a miserable rain on the way in to the 2018 CFP National Championship between Georgia and Alabama, with one fan commenting “Tickets on your phone is a terrible idea” after waiting with thousands of others for over an hour. A similar scene unfolded at a Garth Brooks show at the Houston Rodeo last year. And fans at several events across the country were caught in long waits when Ticketmaster had a “significant outage” in August of 2017 that took out the mobile entry capacity for a number of venues.
The trend is only likely to worsen, as venues and ticketing providers continually attempt to ratchet down tickets into mobile-locked and non-transferrable systems, such as the “dynamic barcode” system currently being rolled out at some Ticketmaster venues, joining Flash Seats as mobile-only tickets that can only be moved to anyone else under terms that the venue or promoter favors.
The Rangers eliminated the option for fans to print their tickets at home prior to this season.
Photo by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram