A Ticketek moble ticketing system failure left thousands stuck outside stadiums in Australia Friday, raising serious COVID concerns in addition to fan angrer and inconvenience over the partially missed events. Thousands were stuck waiting for entry to a National Rugby League preliminary final between Melbourne and Canberra Friday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, while others were similarly impacted at Adelaide Oval for a Port Adelaide vs. Richmond AFL tilt. The NRL game was briefly delayed as organizers hoped to allow in as many fans prior to kickoff as could be managed, but as many as 20,000 were stuck waiting in a large group while the ticketing failure was sorted out.
“There’s some kind of ticketing crash, thousands of people are still outside,” commentator Andrew Voss reportedly said as the game kicked off. “They’ve delayed this as much as they can but for such a big game they can’t be pushing it back too much.”
Reportedly, when the issues could not be sorted out, the organizers merely threw open the stadium gates, allowing fans in without much regard for anything resembling the COVID protocols that allowed the venues to host large crowds amid the pandemic.
“Update: they let everyone in without scanning tickets and barely a bag check,” tweeted Amy Price, a reporter for The Courier-Mail who was among those waiting in Queensland for entry.
So this was outside Suncorp tonight either the Ticketek meltdown. Same thing happened at the AFL. Gates thrown open at kickoff and sit where you like. pic.twitter.com/4szpCqb8bO
— Julian Abbott (@JulianBAbbott) October 16, 2020
It is unclear what the ticketing issue that caused the “complete shambles” as one headline read. The failures recall similar system outages in America, like when a Ticketmaster system outage stranded thousands outside of numerous venues or when a 2017 Kid Rock concert saw all 1,500 of its “paperless” ticket holders locked out due to a system failure that eventually was remedied by having the box office print off new tickets for everyone to use. Or the time when thousands were stuck outside of a Garth Brooks concert due to a Flash Seats failure.
After the games, Ticketek Australia tweeted an apology for the failures at the NRL contest. “Ticketek apologizes to Storm and Raiders fans that were delayed getting into Suncorp Stadium tonight due to a technical issue. We also apologise to the NRL and Suncorp Stadium.” No mention was made of the situation at Adelaide.