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Ticket Craze for Sports Events

By Yong-yi Zhu

SPORTS COLUMNIST

When the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees come together to play, the games are usually incredible. The only thing more exciting than actually watching the game is trying to get tickets to the game.

Tickets to all single Boston Red Sox home games went on sale last Saturday at 9 a.m. There were three ways of getting tickets: at the box office, on the phone, and via the Internet. I had thought about going out to the ballpark but realized Friday afternoon that I would have to wake up ridiculously early in order to get the tickets that I needed; there were already people out in the rain on Friday waiting in line for the best tickets available.

So, I decided to wake up at around 8:50 a.m. to turn my computer on and get the tickets online. It was perfect: I didn’t have to wait in the cold; I didn’t have to get up early. I’d just have to click a couple of buttons, and I would be able to go see the Yankees and the Red Sox over Patriots Day weekend.

What I didn’t realize was how complicated getting access to those tickets can be. The web page did not immediately allow me to purchase tickets, but instead, had me in a virtual waiting room. The waiting room would automatically refresh itself every 30 seconds. The waiting room reminded me of a melange of actually waiting in line and sitting at the doctor’s office. The problem here was that I did not have any clue how many people were in front of me.

So I waited, and at 9:17 a.m., I finally got the opportunity to select which tickets I wanted to purchase. Not only was I ecstatic at being able to see the game, but I also felt brilliant since I saved myself so much time and effort by not having to go out to the park. That joy quickly dissipated, as my computer crashed at absolutely the wrong time (my reaction was inappropriate for print). When I finally calmed down, I once again went back to trying to purchase tickets, and it was not until 1:34 p.m., more than four hours later, that I finally purchased a pair of bleacher seats to the game I wanted. But this made me wonder, how crazy can ticket situations get? Is this one of the worst?

The Red Sox have the craziest situation in ticketing for all of baseball. Last season, attendance was just around 100 percent. I had attended a sold out Sox v. D-Rays game, which drastically contrasted to an Orioles v. D-Rays game, where my friends and I had an entire section to ourselves.

Also crazy last year were the Chicago Cubs-New York Yankees series out in Wrigley Field. Tickets that normally cost $12-20 were on sale from a secondary source for $150-200. Of course eBay had them available for even more than that as some tickets were sold in the thousands. It does get rather insane when fans of one crazy baseball city get together with fans of another crazy baseball city. (See above: Red Sox-Yankees)

But absolutely the most ticket crazed situation is the Super Bowl. Let’s face it, there’s only one every year and for most, it’s an absolute dream to go. The face value of the tickets is already $500 a pop, and because there is only upwards of 80,000 seats for fans from 32 different teams, many lotteries are involved when determining who actually goes. The National Football League gives 5 percent of the seats to the host city, 17.5 percent to each of the participants of the Super Bowl, 34.8 percent to all the other teams combined, and 25.2 percent to whomever the NFL wants to give the tickets to.

Think about it, that’s around 1,000 tickets to each of the 32 teams not participating in the Super Bowl in any way. Considering that even with an entire stadium of seats, they usually get filled up, with only a thousand, people don’t have terribly good chance at it. And that can only mean one thing: super high tickets prices.

Oh, by the way, the game I bought tickets to on Saturday? It sold out by Sunday, and my ticket, for which I paid a total of $38, was all of a sudden worth over $100 per ticket online. Boy, do I feel lucky now.