Not all MLS Cup presale tickets were invalidated

11/27/2013 2:12 PM

11/27/2013 9:06 PM

Alex Edwards was scrolling through his Twitter feed Tuesday evening when he stumbled upon some good fortune. Or so he thought.

A friend had posted an access code that offered Sporting Kansas City season-ticket members the chance to buy tickets to the MLS Cup on Dec. 7 at Sporting Park.

Edwards, a 22-year-old KU student, rushed to the Ticketmaster website and bought two tickets — one for himself, one for his father.

“I thought I’d caught a lucky break,” he said. “It seemed too good to be true.”

As it turns out, it was.

Sporting KC officials spent Wednesday sorting through a mishap that allowed the general public to purchase tickets reserved for season-ticket members.

The exclusive 48-hour presale was compromised late Tuesday when nearly 1,000 MLS Cup tickets were sold — the vast majority to Real Salt Lake fans — using an online code that spread across social media. Real Salt Lake plays Sporting KC in the game, which is for the Major League Soccer championship.

Sporting KC chief revenue officer Jake Reid said the club is still trying to figure out how fans gained access to the code — “13STMCUP” — which had not yet been distributed, he said.

“It’s possible somebody guessed it,” Reid said.

All tickets purchased on Ticketmaster via the code were canceled, and buyers were refunded their money. But not all sales were invalidated.

Season-ticket members were sent an email with instructions on how to purchase tickets to the MLS Cup during the exclusive presale using their account manager on Ticketmaster. No code was required for season-ticket members to buy tickets using the Ticketmaster account manager, and all of those tickets purchased through that method remain valid, Reid said.

The original presale for season-ticket members will continue through noon Thursday.

“You just log on to your account, and your tickets are there waiting for you in your invoice,” said Thomas Kesterson, a first-year season-ticket holder. “It’s actually really easy.”

Reid said the club created a Ticketmaster promo code for season-ticket members who had trouble logging into their account manager. While the code was live Tuesday, it had not yet been distributed to anyone.

“We don’t give out the code until 24 hours after the presale starts,” Reid said. “That’s noon (Wednesday).”

That didn’t prevent the code from being spread by fans across Twitter, Facebook and other media Tuesday night.

Real Salt Lake fans took advantage, but they were greeted with an email Wednesday morning informing them their purchases were cancelled.

Major League Soccer released a statement Wednesday explaining its policy that the visiting club of the MLS Cup is allotted 1,000 tickets to be shared among the team’s staff, players and fans. Sporting KC earned the home match by accumulating more points over the regular season.

Real Salt Lake conducted a presale for its 10,000 season-ticket holders Wednesday night, team media services manager Sam Stejskal said. Only a “very limited number” of tickets were included in the sale.

“Our fans have gotten pretty bent out of shape, but Sporting KC won the rights to host that game, so therefore they get more tickets,” Stejskal said. “We’ve told our fans maybe the safest way is going through StubHub or a second party.”

Well, there is one more way.

After the presale ends, any remaining tickets for the championship match will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Monday.

Edwards said he will be one of the many logging on to Ticketmaster once again.

“I’m not terribly mad about having to try again,” Edwards said. “I remember going to Wizards games and thought how cool it would be if we had more supporters who want to go to the games like they have in Europe.

“Here we are.”

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