Ticketmaster is once again in hot water, this time after cancelling thousands of tickets to the finale of Bad Bunny’s tour in Mexico City over the weekend. The company, which tried to blame the issues on fans turning up with fake tickets, could face fines up to ten percent of Ticketmaster Mexico’s 2021 annual earnings in addition to refunding consumers who were denied entry at the concert.
Reports came in quickly from Friday’s concert at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City that things were going wrong in the ticket scanning process. Fans posted photos from inside the venue showing huge gaps of empty seats as the show began, despite the show having reportedly been long since sold out with more than 80,000 tickets sold. The reason behind the empty seats was that a huge number of individuals holding tickets were being denied entry.
Esto no es normal, vean la cantidad de personas a las que NO les permitieron accesar al Estadio Azteca para el show de #BadBunny y ni @Profeco ni los raterazos e INÚTILES de #Ticketmaster hacen nada. Se viene DEMANDA COLECTIVA MILLONARIA, ah, y no dejemos fuera a @Citibanamex pic.twitter.com/c98ja2Jwiu
— Trending News (@MonickHuitron) December 10, 2022
Ticketmaster Mexico, which was acquired by Live Nation as part of the massive promoter’s purchase of OCESA that closed almost exactly a year ago, claimed that an unprecedented number of people with fake tickets attempted to get into the show.
“This caused an unusual overcrowding and the intermittent operation of our system, which generated confusion and complicated entrance to the stadium, with the unfortunate consequence that some legitimate tickets were denied entry,” the company said on Twitter, adding that fans who had acquired “legitimate tickets through official channels” would be fully refunded. Azteca Stadium also put out a statement pinning the blame on Ticketmaster’s system.
Mexico’s Office of the Federal Procecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO) says it has already received more than 1,600 complaints from fans who had been denied entry at the stadium. And its head, Ricardo Sheffield, has expressed public doubt over the issues being fake tickets, as PROFECO has received numerous similar complaints in the past related to Ticketmaster entry denials.
The tickets “weren’t falsified. Ticketmaster said they were falsified; but they issued all of them,” Sheffield told Radio Fórmula, calling the situation “an elegant way to oversell.”
Sheffield also told reporters that PROFECO had already been considering the filing of a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster before the Bad Bunny incident. PROFECO will require Ticketmaster to reimburse fans and also pay them extra compensation worth 20 percent of the ticket’s price. Additionally, the company will be forced to pay a fine that could total up to 10 percent of its earnings in 2021, he said.
At Saturday’s Bad Bunny concert at the same venue, PROFECO had staff on hand to document and assist in any issues where tickets were deemed invalid and entry was denied. There were no reported issues, despite the same ticketing process being used – which in Mexico is typically a paper/hard stock ticket compared with the forced transition to digital and mobile-only access that Live Nation and Ticketmaster have done in much of the rest of North America.
One fan impacted by the ticketing issues told the Washington Post their story, which started with their purchase of tickets directly from Ticketmaster when the tour went on sale early in 2022.
“They started bouncing people — the girl in front of me, then me and then like seven people after,” she said. “They told me my ticket had either been canceled or was a fake.”
Hernández showed workers at the venue her receipt and Ticketmaster account. Then they called the bank to confirm the transaction. By 10 p.m., she had waited in five different lines and had her paper ticket verified multiple times — only to be told “if it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t pass,” she said. Around her, Hernández said, some concertgoers tried climbing over a fence while others had their tickets ripped in front of them; tearful sobs and angry cries rang out around her.
“I’m so sick of this,” she said. “As a fan you prefer buying tickets from [Ticketmaster] instead of resale because that’s how you know your tickets aren’t false. Then, who are we supposed to trust?”
Ticketmaster did not respond to Sheffield’s comments when contacted by the Washington Post, simply reiterating its claims of massive ticket fraud.
The black eye for the company comes while its American counterpart is already dealing with the massive fallout from last months’ failed Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale, which has drawn enormous pressure from fans and lawmakers alike.