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Ticketmaster Sucks, or Why Chicagoist Will be Watching the ALCS at Home

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 6, 2005 6:10PM

2005_10_sports_ticketbastard.gifWe know you probably think Chicagoist has our own luxury box at The Cell, but that's just not the case yet. So Chicagoist spent our lunch hour desperately trying to land some tickets to the American League Championship Series so that we can watch our beloved White Sox beat the Yankees or Angels on the way their eventual World Series Championship. However, TicketBastard had other plans.

We logged onto Ticketmaster's site a few minutes before the Noon sale time for ALCS tickets. We learned the hard way trying to get Jimmy Buffet tickets that you can't keep refreshing the event page to catch it the moment they come available -- too many refreshes and you get locked out, no tickets. Of course, such tactics wouldn't be necessary were they to give a clock someplace on the page that shows their servers' exact time. When big concert or playoff baseball tickets are at stake, every second counts!

We used the government's atomic clock as a guide and a about 20 seconds after that flipped past noon, a refresh of the page for Game 1 of the ALCS suddenly allowed us to select tickets! We made sure to fill in the quantity and level of tickets we wanted. Smooth sailing so far. On the next page we filled in the scrambled word thing...

Shit! Proxy Error?!?! That's no good and we're losing valuable time. A refresh of the page gives us a new scrambled word to fill in and then we're thrown into a que. Wait time estimated at 15 minutes or more! WTF? We watch in anticipation for the number to get smaller and after a few minutes, it does. Now it says 11 minutes. A few minutes more, and it's down to 7 minutes.

But wait! Now it says 14 minutes! What's going on here? We think something fishy's going on, so we open another browser window to see what those wait times do. It remains at 15 minutes. The first one keeps jumping from a short as 6 minutes all the way back to 15 minutes again. Not good

Finally, we seem to be getting close. Now this is about 25 minutes after Noon, but it's finally at 4 minutes. Then 2 minutes, back to 4, then 2, now 1 and then...

We get some sort of warning because another Ticketmaster window is open! We close that window, but in the meantime the first window sends us back to the original event page to select quantity and level again. We're shit out of luck! There will be no ALCS tickets for Chicagoist, all because Ticketmaster's computer system isn't built to handle exactly the type of transactions that are most critical to their business. So unless Brooks Boyer takes pity on Chicagoist or somebody else has a pair they'd like to sell, we're stuck watching the game on TV.