Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Are two lousy tickets too much to ask for?

Dear Ticketmaster and The Atlanta Braves,

I have an employee of a very good client who wants two tickets to a Braves Game in June; thus, his wish is my command.

No big deal you would think given the wonders of the internet and a credit card.

Not so.  Google “Atlanta Braves tickets” and see what you get.  First there’s all the paid ads for brokers, ticket exchanges and scalpers.

No “Atlantabraves.com” or anything of the sort.  There are multiple iterations of “MLB.com” all of which somewhere on a crowded, graphically challenged page have a link to Ticketmaster.com.

Click that link and you get a graphic of Turner Field and its seat sections, represented by tiny, tiny little colored rectangles with unreadable numbers in them (which a little further down, you will learn are totally irrelevant to the process of getting tickets).  The different colors represent different areas of seats with different prices.  And you can't enlarge the page.

This wasn’t a real problem as I’ve been to the Ted and knew that I wanted Terrace seats anywhere is sections 201 to 205.  Except you can’t get there from the page.  No, you have to go to a selection area of the page where you type in the number of seats you want, whether you want to “add value” (pre-buy food and drink), whether you have a coupon or promo code and then, you can’t choose where you want to go.  You have to choose “Best Available” or “Terrace.”

Best Available doesn’t get you Terrace and Terrace doesn’t let you limit your choices to the sections you want, it tries to push less desirable sections of Terrace out past the infield on you.

At one point in the odyssey, I gave in and tried to buy seats in Section 208.  I clicked “Buy” and it churned and churned and churned while I looked at the advice that it would take less than a minute and that I should not hit the back button or refresh or I’d have to start over again.

Several minutes of churning and I noticed that Firefox had blocked Ticketmaster’s attempt to redirect me to “another page.”  So I clicked “Allow.”  It seems “Allow” is the equivalent to Refresh and Back and I “had to start all over again.”  I tried several variations of this process with no success.

On to Ticketmaster’s 800 number.  The nice female computer voice directing me through phone hell understood a good 40% of what I said.  Again, you can’t pick what you want, I got the same Best Available or Terrace.   Then you had to pick a price within Terrace.  You can’t pick "any price" and you can’t pick a range of prices.  So I picked a few discrete prices,and each time my friend (I think I can call her a friend, we’d been “talking” for over ten minutes at this point) told me she didn’t have any seats for that price.

I hung up.  Some more surfing and I got the hours (8:30 to 6:00) on non-game days) for the ticket office at Turner Field figuring I’d go down at lunch time.  I did.  Guess what isn’t open at 10:45 a.m.?

If anybody at Ticketmaster or with the Braves reads this, I’ll pay, I really have to get the tickets; but, I’ll be damned if I know how to get them.

Best Regards,



The Curmudgeon said...

A far cry from when Bill Veeck owned the St. Louis Browns. Someone would call up and say, "What time is the game?" and Veeck would answer, "What time can you get here?"

I know the Cubs set up their own ticket scalpers... er, brokers so they could squeeze even more money out of desperate ticket seekers. Do Los Bravos have a similar arrangement?

Dave said...

You can't buy from the Braves, only Ticketmaster. I did finally find a "Beta" sight that after about twenty minutes let me buy two marginal seats for more than they should have cost, plus $6.50 per, plus a $10 parking pass and $2.50 for them to Email them to me.

The strange thing is, most Braves game are at best 70% full. I can't figure out why they make it this hard.

As an aside, back in the late 80's and early 90's my firm had season tickets, twenty rows up directly behind the plate. $17 per. The marginal seats I bought today were in the mid-sixties before the extras.