Go ahead and count me as one of the many who showed up on Ticketmaster Tuesday for the highly coveted Winter Classic tickets, only to be turned away empty handed. Depending on who you believe, the event sold out in somewhere between 10 minutes and half an hour. 42,000 tickets sold, and not a single one of them to me.
My immediate bitter reaction was to blame the Buffalo Sabres fans. After all, it was those cold-hearted bastards who bought all the tickets that we all know rightfully belonged in my hand. But after a browse around the pipes of the inter-webs, it looks like I’m not the only one who got shafted here, including many a Sabres fan. On the opening day of ticket sales, only 42,000 of the 74,000 tickets were sold. Over 30,000 tickets have been put aside for the Buffalo Sabres season ticket holders. Which I reluctantly understand. The team is hosting a spectacle, and they’d like to give those who support them, the season ticket holders, the opportunity to get tickets to the event. The Sabres have a massive following, and this will probably only allow for about 2 tickets per season ticket holder.
But that leaves somewhere around 2,000 tickets for NHL employees, and sponsors. Yes, sponsors. Presumably for those from Amp energy drink, who are sponsoring the event. Which means they’ll most likely be raffled away with some sort of contest, which will inevitably be won by some schmuck who thinks skateboarding is a sport and spends his days listening to Gym Class Heroes and watching whichever recreation of Jackass MTV is currently broadcasting. (Sorry, my immediate bitter reaction may have deflected off Sabres fans, but that’s only slightly diminished it.)
Still, I’m left questioning how 42,000 tickets could sell so quickly. I was certainly expecting a sell out, which is why I thought I was bringing my “A game” by showing up on Day 1, but I’m completely taken back by ten-minute sell-out. The only answer is the ridiculously high limit the Sabres put on ticket sales. The lucky few that were able to buy tickets were not limited to 8 tickets, which is what the rate I usually see when prowling ticket master, but instead 50. Yes, they limited ticket buyers to a mere 50 tickets. Why not just hang a sign “SCALPERS WANTED”. Was the league so desperate to sell out this event on the first day, that they opened the door to scalpers and screwed over the casual fan? I don't know, but it's hard not to be cynical when you find yourself in a position like this.
But if your like me, and you missed out on Winter Classic tickets, you can pick a couple up on eBay, provided you’re alright paying a four times the ticket value.
Right now it looks like all I can do is sit back and watch everything unfold. I’m hoping with all the tickets being posted on StubHub and eBay, the market will force the prices lower, and perhaps in a few weeks when the hoopla has died down, I’ll be able to snipe a few of them for a moderately reasonable price. But until then, if you’re looking for tickets for yourself, and you see the current highest bidder is “retoocs”, for all that is upright and holy in this world, don’t outbid the poor guy. He just wants those tickets that were rightfully his.