MLS Cup now stained by “Ticketgate” for many fans (Updated)

Another Update:

Orders are now being invalidated:

invalidated MLS Cup order


This doesn’t deal with the hundreds or perhaps thousands of tickets that were printed yesterday by those who believe they bought valid tickets or may have resold those printed tickets.

So I have been told by an inside source that Sporting KC is considering claiming that the code “13stmcup” was hacked and that tickets were purchased using that code before they should have been.  I find that claim interesting as teams traditionally email presale codes days in advance of the actual “on sale” time and Ticketmaster only turns on codes during the specific times and for the specific seats that the code is valid for.  It seems like reality may be somewhere in between.

The question for me comes down to this, was this the code for SKC Season Ticket Members to buy their seats for the event?  I don’t believe it was, two SKC STM’s told me they got a unique code for their specific seats, that this was for additional seat purchases.  So if that is the case, then these tickets were “assigned” to any particular fan, but were going on sale with a presale code emailed to select fans to allow them to purchase remaining seats after the STM seats were bought.  If that is the case then these tickets would have been bought for friends, family member, co-workers and such, some would have been bought to be resold, so why does it matter who got the code (which was leaked likely by a SKC STM) and bought tickets?  At this point your STM’s got their seats and this was to fill the rest of the stadium, should someone who lives in KC get better access to a league event like MLS Cup than someone who lives in Salt Lake City?  I don’t believe so.

This comes down to damage control, I have yet to see an official cancellation notice from Ticketmaster to any of the fans I know that bought tickets.  If those tickets are made invalid and then those seats resold, it will cause huge ripples in the secondary market and could be a disaster on the day of MLS Cup as fans try to enter the event with tickets that could be invalid.

So when tickets go on sale before their “release” to the general public there is often a code created by the seller that is used on the website of the company that actually handles selling the tickets (sometimes run by the seller and sometimes a third party like ticketmaster), these codes are often emailed to one particular group to use, but very rarely do they ever stay just with that group as people share those codes with friends and family members who might want to purchase tickets as well.  It is very common and happens with almost every US Soccer match, as well as many concerts and other events.

So it shouldn’t have come as any surprise to Sporting Kansas City when their code for additional ticket purchases by their STM’s (season ticket members) was leaked in a number of places online yesterday.  It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that some fans of Salt Lake got ahold of that code (it was actually shared online by a SKC fan) and started buying tickets to the big match.  Instead of cutting their losses and just invalidating the code it appears that SKC is going a step further, and invalidating all the tickets purchased with that code.  Now let’s be very clear this wasn’t the unique code sent to each SKC STM that allowed them to purchase their normal season seat, this was an additional code to buy the thousands of seats that aren’t STM seats.  So now we have a problem if SKC does in fact invalidate the tickets (who knows how many were sold? hundreds or thousands? but those tickets were legally bought using a generic presale code, I logged in with the code yesterday and at no time did it say that only SKC STM’s could use it to purchase tickets.  It allowed me to see what seats were available, there were plenty to go around and clearly people that are fans of both teams were buying tickets.

So what happens now?  If MLS allows SKC to invalidate all these tickets it will create a nightmare for both the club and the league, as those tickets have already hit the secondary markets like craigslist, stubhub and other sites.  Fans will have bought them, made travel plans and will show up to the match expecting to get in, only to be turned away.  There will be no refunds for travel costs, or for the disappointment of not being able to see the match.  Nope both the league and SKC will look like chumps on the biggest stage, the story will get out to the bigger media outlets who will do more digging than did a local KC reporter who put out this story, where SKC seems to admit their presale went haywire.

Haywire, meaning that they were outsmarted by their own fans and by RSL fans who clearly had a desire to buy tickets, see this isn’t about an illegal purchase of tickets it is about fans outsmarting the team.  So the message will be that RSL fans aren’t good enough to have access to open and available tickets to the match, that they are only good enough for a 5% allocation despite what appears to be about 40% of the seats to this match being available. I am not saying that trying to stack the stadium with SKC fans via their STM’s is wrong, RSL would have done the same thing, the issue is the reaction at having their method of selling additional tickets compromised and then throwing what appears to be a temper tantrum and overreacting to what is likely a thousand or so tickets being purchased by RSL fans

It is interesting to note in the article that SKC says they will work with their fans who bought tickets with the code that they will be able to buy valid tickets.  This means that ticketmaster either will be releasing the personal information of those who bought tickets (names, addresses, and who knows what else) or that SKC will now try another generic code that is going to once again get leaked.  Instead of cutting their losses and admitting they got out smarted by both their own fans as well as RSL fans, and learning from it, they are creating what will be a blackeye for both SKC and for MLS Cup.

Just so you can know the truth about things, you only need to look at a couple of posts on The Official Facebook Page of Sporting KC Client Services. where they tell their STM’s that they need to pay their invoices for their MLS Cup tickets by 10 am yesterday:



and then where they talk about the generic code that was emailed out for them to buy tickets yesterday (this is the code that was leaked):

skc 2


now they are going to spin this story so they don’t look like jerks, they will say that RSL fans did something illegal (not true) and that is why they will put the entire MLS Cup experience at risk for hundreds and thousands of fans.  It is a sad thing that their reaction to getting caught with their pants down isn’t to pull them up and to move on with life, but rather to try to put blame on the people who caught them.

That’s How I See It


  1. Eric says:

    I saw another comment section that said that this “pre-sale” was for their STH that didn’t buy some kind of playoff package or something. Are they going to restrict the “valid” tickets to actual STH (as their post seems to imply) or (as I suspect they will) offer to validate all tickets sold to SKC fans? What would be the difference between an SKC STH buying extra tickets for his buddies and a RSL fan that got the same code to buy the same tickets?
    I’m hoping for the best but, I’m pretty sure this whole thing will turn out smelling like wet poop and leave a stain on the 2013 MLS Cup. I was stressed out all day yesterday about getting tickets and now I get to be stressed out until Dec 2nd or 3rd before I find out if I can actually get tickets to watch my team play. This is truly a mess of a situation and I don’t see things getting any better any time soon.
    Thanks for your story.

  2. Richard says:

    MLS is a joke of a league! Prior to ticket-gate I was frustrated by the lack of communication coming from the RSL front office, but this laps that many times over. How does a league not have pre-established allotment protocols? Did it surprise everyone that we had a 50/50 shot at making it to the Finals and that it might have been a good idea to start planning? Or worse, did MLS not realize that either Portland or RSL would travel thousands of fans and it might be a good idea to at least have figured out what the allotment was going to be so the visiting front office could communicate to their fan base? Incompetence like this will disenfranchise all but the most dedicated of fans, and MLS can ill afford the idiocy. It’s no wonder the TV ratings are still behind NHL hockey.

    This rant was my opinion pre ticketmaster issue. Now I’m over the moon with disgust. What of all the people that have airline tickets and hotel reservations? Crying foul and voiding legal transactions because the “wrong” fans got access to the tickets seems like it should be a violation of some inter-state commerce law. Pathetic.

    • admin says:

      It is hard on short notice because there are so many hands dipping into the pool, there is the SKC STM’s (who have first right to their seats), then there is MLS which has sold Seat Guarantees for all MLS Cups, plus league requirements for their staff, families, players, sponsors, then there is SKC needs for their sponsors and partners, their players and families. then there is an allocation for RSL which has to be used for players, families, staff, sponsors, partners, and fans. So a lot of people dipping their hands into the ticket pool before there ever is any for the public, each of those groups have a specific amount of time to determine how many tickets they need. Then unused tickets often move to the next group.

  3. Eric says:

    Just logged into my tickemaster account. Tickets have been revoked.

  4. Miguel says:

    I am an SKC STM and there was an initial sale that was open to STM who bought a playoff package who included all playoff games, that sale started an hour after our game vs Houston was over, yesterday at 12 the second batch of STM got the chance to buy tickets, until noon today, and I was one of those because I didn’t buy the playoff package, each STM got a actual code, it was a number no letters what so ever.

    • admin says:

      So Miguel,

      Did you ever get the 13stmcup code sent to you? was the code that was numbers for your specific seats or for all seats in general?

      • Miguel says:

        No I got a completely different code it was specific to my seat,This is what I got. EXCLUSIVE PRE-SALE FOR

        Should we win the Eastern Conference Finals this Saturday November 23rd and advance to the MLS Cup Final, this exciting Championship match will be played at Sporting Park on Saturday, December 7 at 3:00 PM CST. As an added benefit, Season Ticket Members can take advantage of an exclusive online pre-sale beginning at Noon CST on Tuesday, November 26 and lasts until 2:00 PM CST on Wednesday, November 27.

        Due to limited inventory, your current regular season seat location is not guaranteed, but you have access to seat availability prior to the general public on-sale; subject to availability. Only the total number of seats associated with your regular season ticket account can be purchased during this exclusive pre-sale. The link to purchase tickets, along with your promo code, has been provided below. After this pre-sale, the opportunity to purchase MLS Cup Final ticket(s) can no longer be guaranteed. Standard Ticketmaster delivery options will apply.

        *Special Note: Seats purchased above the total number of seats associated with your regular season ticket account will be refunded.

        • Eric says:

          If this is the case (not trying to imply that Miguel is lying at all), then SKC DID, in fact, open sales to the general public BEFORE it’s announced date. IF STM all got specific codes, then SKC started a new code to let…..who, exactly….buy extra tickets? I thought tickets were not supposed to go on sale until Dec 2nd.
          Funny how much this story keeps changing. Feels a lot like SKC FO is just lying to cover up their mess.

        • admin says:

          So Miguel you never got any communications with the 13stmcup code?

          • Miguel says:

            Nope the only place I heard it from was from Facebook, where people were sharing that code that popped out of a KC Star article to buy tickets for those who weren’t STM. Honestly we thought at first it was your guyses allocation code that we were just jumping on your code, but not to sound like a homer but it seems the fault lies more with Ticketmaster then SKC because Ticketmaster could have invalidated the code. I do feel bad for the fans though that bought this and got their travel plans arranged to come over here and now are ticketless.

    • Eric says:

      So, you’re saying that this code was never actually intended for use by STM? Because that is what was communicated by SKC and the reason for invalidating my ticket. This whole thing smells bad.

  5. admin says:


    Ticketmaster only puts tickets on sale using dates, times and seats as they are instructed to by the team. The root of the issue is with how SKC created the presale code and conditions, and then how that info got out to the public. It does make their story of the code being leaked more believable but it doesn’t deal with the fact that it was created by them with conditions set by them.

    It couldn’t have been hacked, the person would have had to hack into TM to create both the code and the conditions, know what seats were available and such.

  6. charles Matheson says:

    this MLSCUP ticket debacle is very sad.
    if the roles were reveresed id be looking forward to a huge party with the friends we made earlier this year with TheCouldron, and laughing with them at the mistake our FO/Ticketmaster made that allowed them to attend the game with us, and congratulating them for there advantageous exploit . i would hate and berate them during the 90 minute match and then buy them pity beers after we beat their sorry asses down at the pub. leaking of a ticket code is an expected occurrence, theyre job is to plan for it, and react, this is a severe overreaction to a mistake on their part. nothing that was done was illegal or unprecedented, except their response. although to be fair. i may be in the minority of our RSL fans that enjoys the atmosphere with opponent sg’s and our shared love of FOOTBALL.

    RSL fans are not the only people who used the exploit to get tickets. SKC non-STH fans bought tickets as well as fans from teams not in the Cup. Just as people have for every World Cup 2014 and USMNT/USWNT/Superbowl/MLB/and any other ticketing event.

  7. Sporting says:

    Tell you what. Finish with a better record next year and you can host MLS Cup. KC has EARNED this home game, and home game for KC it shall be. Otherwise, we might as well go back to neutral site…forget that. Go SPORTING!

    • admin says:

      actually you could say you were gifted the hosting rights, go back to a bizarre two extra minutes of stoppage time, if you subtract 2 points from SKC and add one to RSL for what should have been a 1-1 draw, guess where you would be playing. I get that your fans and front office are afraid to let RSL fans attend the match despite their own mistake, it never looks good when 1,000 are louder than 18,000.

      • Ralph says:

        Sporting: Really? Finish with a better record!?

        Besides the extra two minute gift by the ref, how about the fact that your hot dog team only managed to win, by one point with RSL missing four players to international play?

        I am thinking HAD those four been on that pitch, the game would NOT have ended in the same score. BTW, KC only won home field advantage BY 2 points. THAT game GAVE THEM 3 points!

        After seeing RSL stiffed in MLS awards today … I hope we hand KC their … arses on Saturday!

        GO RSL!!!!!

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