There was much to feel good about this past weekend (my top 10 moments come in the night post). The campout for Big Blue Madness represented some of the best of UK fans, as they created a carnival-like atmosphere that saw the best in fan-player interactions that I have seen. The result was that all that attended were able to get tickets for Big Blue Madness and the experience was well worth any difficulty that took place. However since Friday night, a new theme has emerged. Many are very upset with how the ticket distribution took place. Whereas before the Madness scene was one of “peace, love and basketball”, now a fairly vocal minority of fans are starting to complain about the entire process and more importantly, the result and the throng is getting louder by the day.
Do the complaints have merit? Well the two I have heard most often are (1) Ticketmaster screwed up and didnt give some people tickets and in the process, some who got tickets are selling them online and (2) people online at times ended up with tickets better than those that camped out. While I understand the theme behind the latter of those complaints, it is the less serious of the two. UK is never certain how many people will be in line for tickets until the very end…thus they arent certain how many lower arena tickets to allot for those in line and they dont want to block off too many and then not have that amount of people show up to purchase live (as has happened some years). Plus, some reasonably make the argument that there are many people who simply cant campout because of (a) jobs, (b) health and (c) location….thus all the good seats should not only be available through the live system. While I understand arguments to the contrary, the entire ticket process is almost like a raffle, and you never know which set of tickets you will get. If I camped out and got uppers, I might resent those that simply used Ticketmaster getting lower…but at least you are in, and in the end it will all even out.
The first complaint however is one that is a bigger deal, because those who make it dont get to go to the event. The reality is that every year the Ticketmaster system ends up with complaints. Fans get ready and set at 6 am, and within five minutes the tickets are gone and some were not able to get through and actually end up with two for the event. It may be because the request didnt go threw, it went through incorrectly or some other defect occurred and the next thing you know, no tickets are given and the event is sold out. Some of these mistakes are inevitable. With a limited number of requests available and the likelihood of websites having problems (see KSR server), when you use the online route, you are playing a numbers game and a raffle. That is the choice you make and sometimes you will lose.
However the second part of that problem does resonate with me. It is clear that there are large numbers of individuals who got tickets who are selling them on EBay and other sites and I do find that unfortunate. In my view, a true hardcore fan would not sell the Madness tickets for a profit. Yes, I know that this is capitalism, supply and demand, etc blah, blah, blah. It is also a free event…one coveted by generations of UK fans and possibly the most highly anticipated non-game in recent UK history. There are literally tens of thousands of fans who would like to attend the event, including thousands of kids who will never go to a game live or hav ethe money to be able to attend real UK games in the future. Knowning that, to see prices online upwards of $2,000 for the event strikes me as sad. This is America and the dollar is king…but for a FREE event…one that UK puts on at a rather large loss for itself for the fans, I wish we saw more generosity and less Donald Trumpism…even for that one night.
Nevertheless, it is what it is at this point. I dont blame UK, because as far as I can tell, this is as good a system to give away tickets as can be expected. There is no logistical way to do an ID check for an entire gymnasium and there isnt really a way for UK to know exactly how many onsite tickets to distribute until the morning of the event. Some will be unlucky and that is unfortunate…but there may be no way around it. But when I go to Craigslist and see the “two lowers for 500, what a deal”, it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. If you got the two lowers and you dont want to go, chances are you know someone who does…and if you dont, I will put you in contact with someone. Why not take the spirit of the event itself and go that route…at least that is what a UK fan would do.