I thought it was time for a new post with udpated info on what is turning out to be a real mess for MLS, SKC and the fans. So MLS just published the following information:
Ed. note: The following is a statement distributed by Major League Soccer on Wednesday.
For the first 16 years of MLS history, the MLS Cup was played at a neutral site. It was a format that worked in the formative stages of the League. But after ongoing discussions with our Clubs, players and fans, MLS moved to a competition-based Cup format that provides the higher-seeded Club the opportunity to host the League championship. This change provides the host club, their players and fans, with a special and memorable opportunity to celebrate a season-long achievement in their home market.
As part of this format change, in conjunction with our clubs, a policy was created to provide the visiting Club an allocation of 1,000 tickets for distribution to its staff, players, partners and fans. The visiting club determines how they will allocate this block of tickets to their various constituents.
Real Salt Lake will announce how they will allocate their 1,000-ticket allotment later today.
Earlier this week, a limited number of RSL fans gained access to a secure link that had been established solely for Sporting Kansas City season ticket members to purchase MLS Cup tickets. Because RSL fans were not authorized to use this link, the purchase orders were not fulfilled.
Of course their is a problem with that statement, it isn’t true. Here is an image of the email that was sent to SKC STM’s last friday:
I have blocked out the code that was included, but it wasn’t the “compromised” code of “13stmcup” it was a unique numeric code. as you can see they had from noon yesterday until 2 pm today to purchase seats (not their specific seats) for MLS Cup, they could only but the number of tickets as they had season tickets.
So the question is what was that code for? Was it really hacked? Ticketmaster is a worldwide company that has sold tickets for the biggest events on the planet, they know what they are doing. When they make arrangements with a seller to do a presale, there is a code create, a date and time window that the code is valid for, and then what seats can be purchased with that code. So who was this code for? I have talked with two SKC STM’s who never got a communication with the “13stmcup” code, so clearly this wasn’t the presale code for them to use as SKC and MLS are now claiming.
I can tell you with a level of confidence what has happened. SKC know how many STM’s they have and how many seats they could buy with their unique code, they also know how many tickets MLS is allocated and what RSL is allocated, instead of putting the rest of the tickets on sale on December 2nd, which is the “general public” date they are trying to fill the stadium with their fans. So they created a code to do just that, their intention was to distribute it to their STM’s but they hadn’t done it yet, so someone either guessed the code or someone at SKC leaked it and then it got leaked to the public. When they found out that it was out and being used by both SKC and RSL fans, they panicked, but remember codes are only good for the dates and times that the seller tells Ticketmaster to accept them, so the problem was clearly on the SKC end of things.
Once RSL fans took to social media proclaiming their ticket purchases (since RSL still hasn’t announced the details of how RSL fans can get part of the 1000 ticket allocation) and it got noticed by folks at SKC. The end result is that all those tickets purchased by anyone with that code have been invalidated:
This is the text of the email sent out by ticketmaster:
On Wednesday, November 27, 2013 11:21 AM, Notification <Notification@Ticketmaster.com> wrote:
This is not the kind of email we like to send. We had to cancel the tickets you bought for the following event because they were only available as a pre-sale with a password…but the password had not been distributed yet!MLS Cup 2013
Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake
Saturday, December 7th, 2013 at 3PMMajor League Soccer is requesting to fully refund any ticket that was sold at this time.What do I need to do?
The good news is you don’t have to do a thing – you should see the full refund posted to your account within 7 – 10 business days. Just discard the tickets we sent, they’ve been canceled and will not get you in to the event.We want you to get tickets for Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake when they officially go on sale.
Note: Onsale dates and times sometimes change so please check the event on Ticketmaster.com for updates.If you received tickets via our Ticket Transfer program, this email serves only as notification. As you did not purchase the tickets from Ticketmaster, you will not receive a refund.If you sent tickets to someone via our Ticket Transfer program, please be advised we have notified the current ticket holder. All tickets are being returned to your account and the refund information posted above applies.
If you need anything else, we’re always here for you – just hit reply and ask us or visit Ticketmaster.com!
Thanks for being a fan!
Ticketmaster Fan Support
So fans who bought tickets and made plans to attend MLS Cup are now left out in the cold, and even fans who didn’t use the code are now at risk of buying tickets on the secondary market that may not be valid. I believe that this image shows the what code might be invalid on a printed copy of the ticket, if your ticket has this code you might want to check with Ticketmaster:
I have it from one source that while their Ticketmaster account shows that their order is now invalid, that the funds for that transaction are still in hold on their credit card account. Not Cool.
So why do I believe that is what happened, well first it lines up with what two separate SKC STM’s have told me, and shown me, and second because one of those STM’s just got the following email from the SKC front office:
On Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 11:50 AM, Brian Diebold <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Great News! We’ve received a limited allotment of tickets back from MLS and we want to pack Sporting Park with as many Sporting Fans as possible so we are giving Season Ticket Members an opportunity to secure additional MLS Cup Final tickets. This exclusive sale begins at 2:00 PM CST on Wednesday, November 27 and lasting until 10:00 PM CST on Friday, November 29 or while supplies last.
Click “Purchase Now” and your promo code is your season ticket “Account ID number”. Your Account ID number can be found by logging into your online Sporting KC Account and is located in the upper left hand corner.
*Only the total number of seats associated with your regular season ticket account can be purchased during this exclusive sale. Standard Ticketmaster delivery options will apply.
Your PROMO CODE is your Account ID number.
Client Services Executive
Sporting Kansas City
1511 Baltimore Ave. | Kansas City, MO 64108
Perhaps there is no more clear indication of SKC getting caught with their pants down than this email and their change from their planned generic code to now using the specific STM account number as the presale code. This wasn’t hacking, this wasn’t anything illegal, this was smart fans using social media to beat the club at their own game, and then getting mad and throwing a fit about it.
MLS should have made the honor the tickets, instead you now have potentially thousands of invalid tickets out there, how many will make it into the secondary market, do you expect a casual fan wanting to go to MLS Cup to know the difference? How many people will travel to Sporting Park on December 7th, only to be turned away from the gate?
This stinks, from how it happened, to how the reaction has been communicated. Yes I know that I risk backlash from MLS for making all of this public, but without SKC or MLS being transparent about things, and owning up to their own mistakes, someone has to keep their feet to the fire.
Oh and there is plenty of issues on the RSL side as well, one has to wonder how the “1,000″ tickets available to RSL will be allocated? I know as a STH that I got the following info:
As the visiting team, RSL has been allocated a limited number of tickets for MLS Cup. On Tuesday December 3 at 10 AM, we will release the remaining few hundred tickets to Season Ticket Holders on a first come first serve basis. Tickets will be available to purchase online only. A limit of 4 tickets will be available on each individual purchase transaction. Once you have purchased tickets you will be able to pick them up at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office. Due to the demand for this limited number of tickets, phone and email orders will not be accepted. You will need your season ticket holder account number to complete the purchase. If you do not remember it, please call us immediately. More information on this sale will be sent out to RSL PRIDE Season Ticket Holders on Monday prior to the sale on Tuesday Morning.
I got word today that some sponsors were able to purchase tickets yesterday, before RSL season ticket holders, before members of the RSL supporter groups. So RSL fans who wait until Tuesday to try to follow the system to get tickets will have just 4 days to make travel arrangements and prices have gone up everyday. There has to be a better way to deal with this.
I love the idea of the team with the best record hosting MLS Cup, it is a great idea, but clearly MLS didn’t put enough thought or planning into how to handle the ticket demand. Sporting Park holds about 20,000 fans, they have roughly 11,000 STM’s so there should be a fair deal more tickets available for the general public(which would include RSL fans).
That’s How I See It