Rockies to resume online ticket sales
October 23, 2007
DENVER ” Colorado Rockies officials planned to relaunch their sale of World Series tickets Tuesday after the team said their first attempt to sell tickets online was stopped by an “external malicious attack.”
The Rockies were forced to stop the online-only sale of tickets after about two hours Monday after 8.5 million hits overwhelmed the servers set up to take the orders. Later spokesman Jay Alves announced that the ticket sales website had crashed because of an attack.
When asked if the team was prepared for another repeat Alves said: “We absolutely have backup plans in place,” without elaborating. He referred questions about the attack to Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan Inc., which runs the computers for the Rockies’ World Series ticket sales.
Paciolan representatives did not immediately return phone messages but earlier said the crash wasn’t the Rockies’ fault. MLB.com spokesman Matt Gould said he hoped to have additional details Tuesday.
Alves spoke at a news conference held inside the stadium gates, fans leaning through the bars to try to get news of when they could get tickets. Throughout the day, excited fans formed lines several times at the Coors Field box office but left disappointed after security guards insisted no tickets would be sold at the ballpark.
A news conference earlier announcing the sale’s suspension had been held on the sidewalk outside the stadium with fans booing Alves and chanting “We want tickets! We want tickets!”. One, standing among reporters, asked him why the Rockies hadn’t sold their tickets earlier like other teams.
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“We’re as frustrated and disappointed as they are,” Alves said at the time.
The team said fewer than 500 tickets were sold Monday before the sale was shut down and those tickets will be honored.
The Series opens in Boston with games on Wednesday and Thursday. Games 3 and 4 will be on Saturday and Sunday in Denver. If there is a Game 5, it will be played Monday in Denver.
The Red Sox held a random online drawing for the right to buy tickets to Fenway Park games, said Ron Bumgarner, vice president of ticketing. The Oct. 15 drawing attracted more than 350,000 fans; the winners bought tickets at a private sale.
The team also had a telephone sale for fans without computer access, Bumgarner said.
“It’s our goal to try to make it as smooth and fair and efficient as possible,” he said.
A limited number of tickets will also go on sale at Fenway Park on game day, with fans allowed to line up five hours before game time.
Alves said officials rejected the idea of a system similar to the Red Sox’s, saying it’s too late to begin that process now.
Fenway Park tickets range from $50 to $225. Coors Field tickets are $65 to $250.
The Rockies said nearly 18,000 tickets were available for each game in Denver ” less than half of Coors Field’s 50,449 seats. The remaining seats are allotted to season-ticket holders, the two teams and Major League Baseball. Season ticket holders were allowed to buy tickets over the weekend.
Paciolan earlier said the crash affected the company’s entire North American system.
“We are working hard to address it,” Paciolan CEO Dave Butler said.
Meanwhile, one ticket broker was selling lower-deck tickets for between $1,400 and $5,500 and an online seller offered tickets in the normally cheap Rockpile section for more than $17,000, although better seats were available for less.
TicketsNow, which sells tickets mostly from season ticket holders online, said traffic on its site quadrupled Monday morning and the average price of a Rockies ticket rose by about $200 to $995. The average price of a ticket at Fenway Park sold on the site Monday was $1,096, senior vice president Mark Hodes said.
The Rockies originally planned to sell tickets at Coors Field and the team’s Dugout Stores in the Denver area as well as online. They announced Wednesday all sales would be online, saying that would be more fair.
But many fans, who periodically gathered outside Coors Field, didn’t like the team’s decision to sell the tickets online in the first place.
Brian Hartman of Highlands Ranch said the team should at least set aside some tickets for local fans so they could line up and buy a ticket before opening up an online sale to the world.
“They’re ruining the spirit of baseball,” he said of Rockies management.
Clayton McLeod, a 26-year-old heavy-machine operator who lined up to buy tickets on one of the Denver Public Library’s computers, said he would have rather waited in line through this weekend’s snow in his snowboard gear for a chance to buy Rockies tickets in person.
Matt Vaughn, 41, a software engineer, said the whole fiasco reminded him of how he couldn’t buy Hannah Montana tickets for his daughters after the prices of tickets soared online. But he said it wouldn’t change his support for the players, who left for Boston Monday night, because he said he understands the business of baseball is something different all together.
“In my mind I can separate that. I go to a game and spend $7 for a beer and just try to not think about it,” he said.