Locals lament World Series ticket crash
October 23, 2007
ASPEN – Buying a World Series ticket Monday was harder than finding Willy Wonka’s golden ticket after the Colorado Rockies’ server crashed with a reported 8.5 million hits in 90 minutes.
Aspen was not immune to the Rockies fever that sickened servers, as many residents spent much of the morning trying to get on to the website selling the only World Series tickets available to the public.
The Colorado Rockies are set to play the Boston Red Sox in the seven-game World Series, beginning Wednesday in Boston and coming to Denver on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (if necessary). It’s the Rockies’ first World Series appearance.
Aspen resident Greg Ricker was in the Pitkin County Library at 11 a.m. trying to buy tickets. Instead, all he got was frustrated with the blank pages popping up on the screen.
“Since they made it, I gotta get down there,” said Ricker, who grew up on the East Coast but now roots for the Rockies. “The Rockies deserve to win … first time in the series, young team, killing it.”
Perhaps the hottest place in town Monday morning was the World Link Cafe, an Internet cafe near City Market. Owner James Guest said at least a dozen computers were at work all morning.
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“It’s just frustrating,” said Ashley Boun of Aspen, who spent two hours trying to get tickets. “I don’t know why they didn’t just have a random lottery system. We’ve all been here with multiple screens going, and now I need to go to work.”
Shortly after midday, the Rockies announced they had suspended online ticket sales after Paciolan, the Irvine, Calif., company that manages Rockies ticket sales, had a system-wide outage. Paciolan sells more than 100 million tickets to concerts, sporting events and other happenings annually ” roughly 25 percent of all live events in the country.
The Rockies said fewer than 500 seats sold during the morning. Roughly 18,000 tickets are available for each game at Coors Field, or less than half of the stadium’s 50,449 seats. The other seats are available for season-ticket holders, the teams and Major League Baseball.
Kimberley Hay, an administrator with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, had two computers going Monday morning in an attempt to get tickets. By the afternoon, she had resigned to a wait-and-see attitude, though the Rockies page was still open on her computer.
“I guess it’s time to call in the connections,” she said, “if you have any.”
Aspen Internet expert Farr Shepherd, owner of Decypher Technologies, said 8.5 million hits is extremely large and that numerous servers would have been necessary to handle the traffic. Shepherd said scalpers, who use computer programs with far faster Internet access, might have exacerbated the crash.
A Colorado Rockies spokesman said late Monday that an “external malicious attack” caused its website to crash, but tickets would go on sale at noon Tuesday (see related story in News).
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