BC Place is putting the blame on a new anti-scalping ticket system for the delays getting into the stadium for Friday night’s U2 concert.
Thousands of people were left outside BC Place for hours, trying to get into the stadium before U2 hit the stage for the kickoff of their 2017 Joshua Tree tour.
The stadium has hosted many full-capacity concerts and events in the past without any problems getting guests inside, but this time around, thousands waited outside and missed the opening act, Mumford and Sons.
A spokesperson for BC Place says it was a new ticket system from TicketMaster and used by the band that led to the massive delays.
TicketMaster provides bands with the option to use a new credit card-based entry system, where guests must present the credit card they purchased the ticket with at the door. The card is scanned by door staff and verified before patrons are let inside.
The system is designed to prevent scalping.
“The time to verify, to get people into the venue, took longer than anticipated and we saw a large convergence of people… and we simply weren’t able to get through the verification process in a timely matter,” spokesperson Laura Ballance said.
Ballance says the stadium had been reminding fans to arrive as early as 5 p.m. in order to beat lines, but most guests didn’t show up until about 7 p.m.
The opening act was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., while U2 was expected to hit the stage by 9 p.m.
Those who didn’t arrive until 7 p.m. were finally inside by about 9 p.m. — completely missing Mumford and Sons.
Not unexpectedly, fans were upset.
“I’m pissed. It’s totally frustrating. Let us in. Seriously,” one man in line said.
While BC Place says it is “incredibly sorry” the guest experience wasn’t up to par, it will be working to iron out its process for future events.
“That system was designed to prevent some of the scalping situations that have occurred globally,” Ballance said. “It was a situation where the verification system took a little longer than was anticipated per transaction. It created a situation where we couldn’t process people quick enough to get them into the venue.”
“We’ll work to get better.”
TicketMaster’s new system in brief
Friday’s U2 concert was BC Place’s first large experience with the new TicketMaster technology.
Kingsley Bailey at Vancouver Ticket, a local ticket retailer, says the decision to use the service comes from the band or event organizer — i.e. Live Nation.
“The band is the one making the decision, and by doing that they have created chaos and more problems,” Bailey said.
TicketMaster’s service requires ticket purchases to buy their tickets online or over the phone with a credit card. They must then bring that same card and a valid government-issued photo ID to the venue. Then, they have to take the card, ID and every member of their party to the door where their card is then swiped for entry.
There are no physical tickets used in this system. In short, the credit card is the ticket.
Why the extra hassle? TicketMaster explains:
“When credit card entry is the only option, it’s probably because the tickets are in high demand, and the artist, team or venue wants true fans like you to get the seats you want at face value by eliminating unfair competition from professional scalpers. Without the ability to resell tickets at steep prices, scalpers have no reason to snatch them up when they go on sale using automated software, or ‘bots.'”
— With files from Jill Bennett