Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Dissatisfaction with Phils stirs fan to place ad

A New Jersey man has placed an ad trying to find others who tried to gain entrance into the second half of Game 5 of the World Series, only to learn their tickets were invalidated.

Dissatisfaction with Phils stirs fan to place ad

The ad in Sunday’s Inquirer jumped right out from the bottom of the page.

 

ATTN PHILLIES TICKER HOLDERS WHO WERE

REFUSED ENTRY TO WORLD SERIES GAME 5

 

We want to hear from you!!

 It goes on to explain that the person who placed the ad was trying to find others who had bought tickets for what turned out to be that infamous Game 5 of the World Series. That’s the one that started in a light rain on Monday night, Oct. 27, and ended in fireworks and a world championship on Wednesday night, Oct. 29. Ticket holders, it said, who bought their seats through legal means on 10/27 “had their tickets suddenly voided before the game resumed on 10.29. This was allegedly at the request of people who resold their tickets online then called the team to claim they ‘lost’ them. These clowns apparently then re-re-scalped the new tickets oneline again for big profits, while an untold number of original ticket holders who attended the first half of the game in the driving rain were refused entry on 10/29 and left standing out on Citizen’s Bank Way on the biggest sports night of their lives.”

 

Brent Blanchard of Medford, N.J. , was one of those on the outside looking in that Wednesday night. He said last night that his campaign to find others who had suffered a similar fate was “as grass roots and disorganized as these things get. It's basically myself and my friends.”

 

He attended several postseason games, including Game 4 on Sunday night, and knew he also was going the next night for the possible clincher.

 

“We had tickets we knew were good,” he explained by phone on Tuesday night. “We bought the tickets through a guy who bought them through StubHub. So we got the tickets. And I don’t mind saying I paid like $2400 for four tickets. We dropped about $1100 for a pair for standing room. And knowing Game 5 was the only theoretical game that could be a clinching game, we bought those a week earlier. Almost speculating, if you will. And so we were all excited and we went to that last game together, and the rains came, and they put the big messages on the board and they had all those announcements on the PA saying just hang on to your stubs. And so we did, and we went back two days later and two tickets were still good, and the other two tickets, whoever had originally bought them apparently called in and reported them stolen and got two new tickets for themselves.

 

“It clicked for me because I remember seeing on Wednesday how many tickets were available on eBay all of a sudden. And all of sudden there was this flood of tickets that were available and they were really cheap, and I can remember thinking, how the hell can this be, for a Game 5, a clinching three-inning Game 5. So I almost bought a couple of others for my son’s friends, but I didn’t and we went to the game and then I saw why. Because we got there that night and it turns out who knows how many people called in their tickets stolen and resold another pair of tickets.”

And resold them on the secondary market, Blanchard asserted, voiding the tickets and leaving him stranded. Blanchard said part of the impetus for the ad was coming across a story published in the Inquirer on the day after the World Series championship quoting team executive John Weber, who said the team had duplicated about 200 tickets. He told writer Mike Jensen that if the Phillies had a record of the ticket being purchased, it could get replaced. If somebody could prove it was their seat, the old stub would be deactivated, Weber said.

Weber added that since StubHub is the official secondary ticket partner for Major League Baseball, with windows operated by Phillies employees, those tickets also could be reproduced if they were lost. Buyers were on record, allowing them to be replaced, he said.

“The other ones, if they bought a ticket three, four, five people down the lane, if we can't verify that receipt - those people might have trouble,” Weber said that night. “We try to help out to a reasonable extent. We’re not going to bat 1.000.”

Blanchard said, based on his observations, that the number was higher than 200. “We were at the will-call window that night and it was packed,” he said. "There were people freaking out. Women crying and dudes hitting the windows, you know.  There were people that definitely were legitimate in being scammed, and there were a lot of them. So that’s the real reason we took out the ad is because we know there were a lot more people than just us.”

Blanchard said since the ad was placed that he had gotten nine or 10 calls. He said the ad should run in the Inquirer and Daily News several times.

 

Bonnie Clark, the team’s director of communications, sent an e-mail earlier today from the winter meetings in Las Vegas that disputed the numbers of those still unhappy with how everything was resolved: “The postponed completion of World Series Game 5 presented The Phillies with a unique set of ticket challenges.  Happily, we were able to creatively resolve almost all of them, usually by issuing some additional standing room tickets.  We understand that there has been a complaint by a repurchaser involving one set of three tickets.  Apparently, the original purchaser put the tickets up for sale and they were ultimately purchased by someone who used them to attend Game 5A.  On the Wednesday of Game B, The Phillies issued three new tickets to the original purchaser, who said he had lost them. That, of course, resulted in voiding the original tickets and therefore denying the repurchaser admittance to Game 5B.”

 

A StubHub spokesman originally said by e-mail today that he thought any problems had have been solved. Wrote Sean Pate: “I talked with our team who handled the event and it seems there wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary for the game in the way of invalid tickets.  There were a handful of issues as would be typical when there have been thousands of tickets purchased through us and this game was more unusual of course due to the suspension and continuation on Wed.  But any StubHub customer who alerted us of an issue received a replacement ticket on site and was admitted into the game. If there are any outstanding issues, which I seriously doubt there would be from our side, customers can call 1-866-STUBHUB for help. We remedied all matters on game day or shortly thereafter.

 

Shown some of the transcribed comments from Blanchard later today, Pate wrote back and said: “Let me once again be sure we have closed all the cases. Or the cases that pertain to us. It looks like we have from what I have seen, so I don’t know where this gentleman is coming from. If he has a Transaction ID he’ll share with you I can specify exactly what happened in his case to set the record straight.”

Blanchard said he'd try and provide that by tomorrow. He said that he spent several weeks sending documentation to the Phillies, everything from a copy of the tickets to his StubHub receipt to pictures he took inside the park that Monday night. “Anything they wanted I gave them,” he said. “And they did this back and forth for two weeks. And then all of a sudden they said, ‘Sorry, there’s nothing more we can do,’ and now they just don’t return e-mails anymore.”

So what does he want at this point? He said just a chance to contact the original owner, the person who called in to get his ticket voided. “I don’t mind pursuing this with them,” he continued, “but the Phillies are now putting themselves in a position to be a shield for who knows how many people who did this intentionally, and they’re saying, ‘We’re not going to release any information.’ Well, you can’t do that. That leaves us no avenue of pursuit.”

And, he said, that just makes an annoying situation worse. “There’s one issue of being out $1100 for the tickets,” Blanchard said. “But the totally separate issue is, even if StubHub called me tomorrow and say, ‘We’ll give you your $1100 back,’ we lost this memory. We lost this experience through someone who knew what they were doing, called in, stole our tickets, and sold them to someone else. So that’s where we’re looking for some type of assistance from the Phillies. I don’t care if the Phillies charge them with something. It doesn’t matter to me.”

 

The exclamation point to Blanchard’s push for some form of retribution is that he had intended this ad to run a couple of weeks ago. But he had several hurdles to leap over regarding the language he was using. “I had to rewrite that ad four times,” he said. “They kept rejecting it. It was supposed to run like two weeks ago and they kept saying no. The legal department kept rejecting it, saying you can’t have the word Phillies in the ad, and then they said you can’t have the word StubHub, and then you can’t have the word thieves. They kept cherry-picking my words in my ad,” he said, finally stopping to laugh. “So finally I got it dumbed down enough where they accepted it.”

 

Paul Vigna
About this blog
Paul Vigna still has the seat he wrestled out of the concrete at Connie Mack Stadium parked in the finished basement, a 1980 Phillies championship mirror hanging above it. Now, why he’s kept an autograph of former Flyer Bruce Gamble on a sheet of Hockey Hall of Fame paper is another story. A native of Philly who grew up in Lansdale, he’s an assistant sports editor at the Daily News in charge of special projects who has written two columns related to sports and consumers: View From the Seats and Savvy Consumer.

ABOUT THIS BLOG:
Athletic contests were, for a long time, simply fun and games. Nowadays they’re just a small part of a sports entertainment industry that puts billions of dollars into play and a number of issues into motion. Moneyball indeed. You might be closer to the action than ever before, but that privilege comes at a price - and often it’s beyond what you can afford.

With that as the backdrop we’ll use this blog to dig out stories and swap advice about how the fan experience is changing and what it’s costing you now and in the future. Some of it will educate, some will let you vent. And in a sports panel format, it should allow for a consensus of opinion that can carry some weight.

Reach Paul at vignap@phillynews.com.

Paul Vigna
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected