I was very excited this morning when I purchased my tickets to the USA vs Spain Davis Cup tie through the USTA member presale. As an active member of the USTA, I received an email from them yesterday with instructions on how to purchase my tickets. You can see an image capture of this email below:
Note how the email clearly states on the bottom that you need to have the code "DAVISCUP11" and your valid USTA Membership number.
At 10am CT sharp this morning, I clicked the link provided in the email, entered the code "DAVISCUP11" and purchased 5 tickets for the 3 day event. I was never asked for my USTA Membership number.
Then I go on twitter to see who else got their DC tickets. I immediately see complaints that the most expensive tickets were gone in a couple minutes. Strange, but people on my timeline were available to get less expensive ticket packages.
Then, an hour and forty-five minutes after the tickets first go on sale, it's announced that the presale has sold out. That's amazing that the event sold out so quickly, right? Who would have thought that tennis fans would turn out in full force for the event. Even Roddick, who only tweets sporadically, crowed about it.
Maybe tennis fans (and USTA members) were just so crazed and excited about the prospect of seeing Spain and the US play. US fans love tennis! Not so fast.
It seems ticket companies all over the internet were able to secure tickets as well. I don't mean those tennis tours that sell packages to various tennis events. I mean straight up scalpers. Seems they were able to take advantage of being able to buy tickets without providing a valid USTA Membership number. Some sites have simply jacked up the price of the tickets, http://www.ticketcity.com/tennis-tickets/davis-cup-tennis-tickets/davis-cup-tennis-tickets-frank-erwin-center-july-8-tba.html. Those $315 seats were being sold during the presale for $140.
Other sites are selling tickets PER DAY, even though the presale only allowed you to purchase packages that included tickets for all 3 days. The prices at the following sites vary, but $300 for just Friday tickets when the same amount was what some 3 day passes cost in the presale is outrageous
None of these ticket sites say exactly where you will be sitting, just the general area. No one who bought their tickets through the presale today knows what seat or row they are sitting in either. The website that ran the presale said:
"Tickets are sold and priced as a three day series package only. You will be purchasing a seat in a certain price level but will not receive a specific seat assignment when you place your order. Seats will be assigned on a best available basis and orders processed based on the date and time the order was received. Today's purchase guarantees you a seat in the price level selected. No further action is required for your seat assignment to occur. Tickets will be mailed three weeks prior to the event."
Fair enough, but then how are these two sites selling tickets that tell you EXACTLY where you will be sitting:
Somehow I doubt that all these ticket brokers are affiliated with people who are valid USTA members. Isn't it interesting that the presale never asked for that USTA membership number? Turns out that anyone, including scalpers, could have bought tickets. And look at the buzz the USTA got by announcing that the presale "sold out"! If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would say something about how this was all intentionally done. I am not, but I am a due-paying member of the USTA who is royally pissed off that other due-paying members of the USTA never got a chance to buy tickets in the presale. I saw many USTA members on my Twitter timeline who were bummed that they missed the chance to buy tickets.
USTA members are the backbone of tennis in this country. They play the sport, watch the sport, and spend money on the sport. No matter who is at fault in the screw-up with the ticket pre-sale, it is these members who have been screwed. And that is just wrong.