Friday, February 11, 2005

Nah, There Weren't Any Ticket Problems

The Post and Times are on the case, reporting on something fans do best: gripe. (Example)

Barry Svrlugla ($10 to the first person that can tell me how to pronounce that name) says that Ticketmaster wasn't prepared with the kind of technology they needed.
Dave Scarborough, the executive vice president for technology at Ticketmaster, said the company's software failed to efficiently handle the requests because it is "not quite as sophisticated" as it needs to be. The software for single ticket sales, for example, puts buyers in a queue and tells them they have a certain amount of time until they get through, but Ticketmaster had no way to quickly process orders for multi-game plans.

"Most of the time, when you do something like a mini-plan, most of them are on a renewal basis," said Scarborough. "You know who the people are, and there's not a big onslaught that there is with a first-year team. This situation was different."

Eric Fisher gets more specific with what the problems are:
Soon after sales began at 12:01 a.m., throngs of fans searching for seats jammed up Ticketmaster's online ordering system for about two hours. At times the system showed large blocks of seats at RFK Stadium unavailable for purchase.

The issue stemmed primarily from users holding as many as 16 seats in their online shopping carts while searching for other seating options and then ultimately buying far fewer seats. The additional demand prevented some fans from being able to complete their ticket orders.

Frequent commenter Yuda can attest to that. On rwo or three occasions, when he got to checkout, he was holding $10,000 worth of half-season tickets. Something, apparently, was really wrong with the system.

Yeah, they probably should've been better prepared, but it's not the end of the world and it's not a slap in the face like some have made it out to be. The logistics of running something like this are pretty complex, and when you're dealing with several thousand people, a few are going to fall through the cracks. That's the nature of the beast.

But, the bright side is that the Nats seem very customer-focused. And, although they can't get everyone the seats they want behind the dugout, they do seem willing to work with the squeaky wheels. That's something we should all be happy with. There's nothing worse than unresponsive customer service.

The articles also note that they've sold the equivilent of 1,300 additional season ticket plans. I'm actually surprised it isn't a little bit higher. When I logged back on yesterday to see what was available, the only thing it had for any of the plans was way up in the outfield.

I'm sure they've blocked off a certain number of seats to reserve for single game sales. They can't have all those people sitting in the worst seats in the house--that'd be a pretty sure way to create some public hostility.

I've seen varying numbers floating around. Does anyone know what the seating capacity of RFK is?


  • Sources say 56,000+.

    By Blogger Carl, at 2/11/2005 11:25 AM  

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