Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NFL Screws Its Fans

NFL London

The NFL's first international regular season football game has already hit a huge snag, pissing off football fans in the United States and abroad.

Nearly 600,000 football fans from around the world applied online for the opportunity to buy tickets to the New York Giants-Miami Dolphins game at Wembley Stadium in London (capacity 90,000). Through a lottery system, a small percentage were lucky enough to receive a password to use on Ticketmaster. Thousands woke up early this morning as tickets went on sale at 11:00 AM British Standard Time (6 am NY time). My friend Jay and I included.

That's when everyone realized the NFL screwed up big time.

At 11:00 AM, tickets were only made available to residents of the UK. Without a UK mailing address, you couldn't buy a ticket. Jay called everyone he knew to see if anybody had relatives in the UK. We even emailed people we met on our Peru trip.

We weren't the only ones panicking. Within minutes of the sale time, complaints began pouring in to the website.

"The biggest Farce is, that only persons from the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland were able to buy tickets. Why didn't they say so from the beginning? Why did they send codes to all other countries? It's unbelievable!!!"

"I am so mad for this, they never told us. It is a game for Europe, not for UK only... god damn it. I waited for this for so long, even called work that I was going to be late because of the 1 hour delay and now this, I AM SO MAD."

"This sucks bigtime. Was i blind or was it obvious that this release was for UK residents only? Thats 2 hours spent of my life i'll never get back. Plus the heart rate isn't down yet."

"Hope this will be the last game played in the UK!!! It's unbelievable they shut out other fans!!!"

International shipping options and a will call option weren't added to the Ticketmaster site until nearly two hours later. By that time, the best seats were already gone-- and many people had already given up.

"Credit to the Brits for screwing the rest of the world out of buying tickets for the first 2 hours. International my butt. Nice play limiting the shipping options to local residents only."

Initially, tickets were supposed to go on sale at 10 am British time, but unspecified technical difficulties delayed the sale by an hour. When the tickets finally did go on sale, shocked fans discovered they couldn't order them unless they lived in Great Britain, Ireland or Scotland.

Germany was added as an option an hour and a half later. A will call option and other countries followed.

Jay and I got tickets for the game, eventually, but they weren't the 50 yard line seats we got when Jay logged in at 6 am. They were section 549 in the upper tier.

Kudos to the NFL for spreading its brand to England, but it owes its American fans, and others, a big apology.

PLUS: International Regular-Season Games Are Stupid Anyway

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