A die-hard St. Louis Blues fan was so excited when her team made the Stanley Cup Finals, but her hype quickly turned sour after she was unable to purchase handicapped tickets.
The St. Louis Blues are slated to take on the Boston Bruins at the Enterprise Center this weekend. However, according to KMOV4, season ticket holders got first dibs on tickets to the game, including handicapped seats. Karen Ladd, a Blues fan for more than 40 years who is in a wheelchair because of a spinal tumor, was told by the venue that they would no longer sell any tickets for handicapped seats for the Stanley Cup Finals games. Ladd said that this game would have been a “bucket list moment” for her.
“It kind of hurts to be a fan for 47 years and be told ‘uh sorry you don’t matter,’” Ladd told News 4.
Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal for Ticketmaster to verify if ticket buyers are disabled or not, so, in some cases, the tickets can be bought by people without disabilities. The ticketing company told News 4 that tickets sold out so fast because of high demand for the Stanley Cup Finals, and Ladd should continue to check back on the site to see if a seller has posted a resale ticket.
Handicapped fans typically have to jump through hoops to purchase tickets to any sort of event, so Ladd’s situation isn’t necessarily anything new. For example, a Rolling Stones fan hoping to see the legendary rockers on tour filed a complaint against Concerts West/AEG earlier this year to the state Division of Human Rights after finding out handicapped seats at MetLife Stadium were five times more expensive than regular seats. Additionally, a disabled woman attending a concert at a winery in Washington reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western Washington after she had a “humiliating” experience trying to navigate on the winery’s grounds while in her wheelchair.
Attitude Is Everything is just one group that is trying to improve concert experiences for disabled and Deaf fans. Last year, the organization launched Ticketing Without Barriers, a coalition filled with ticketing companies, venues, and event companies who will share ideas and solutions to work toward an equal business. In order to shed more light on this topic, people like Ladd are encouraged to speak out about their experiences.