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Guest marlins02

Posted on Fri, Oct. 17, 2003?

 

THE WORLD SERIES | MARLINS VS. YANKEES

Tickets disappear before fans' eyes

Fans lining up for Marlins vs. Yankees tickets have a hard time understanding how more than 190,000 tickets can disappear so quickly.

BY MANNY NAVARRO, CHARLES RABIN AND DAVID KIDWELL

mnavarro@herald.com

 

 

More photos?

 

ALL GONE: Tickets for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series were sold out in less than three hours.?

 

 

The World Series at Pro Player Stadium was sold out three hours after the ticket windows opened Thursday morning, prompting a spontaneous chant among irate fans lined up around the stadium.

 

''Let's Go Marlins'' was not the refrain.

 

''Bull----! Bull----!'' was the chant Thursday afternoon among fans who had a difficult time understanding how more than 65,000 seats for each of the three possible games could disappear so quickly.

 

Here's how:

 

? Preferred customers.

 

By the time the ticket booths opened at 10 a.m. Marlins season ticket holders, corporate sponsors, Major League Baseball, media outlets and other teams had already gobbled up tens of thousands of the best seats.

 

The Marlins refuse to say how many, but local ticket brokers estimate as many as 90 percent of the infield box seats at Pro Player Stadium were gone before the public got a whack.

 

''They have more than 5,000 season ticket holders,'' said one Miami ticket broker who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

 

`YOU DO THE MATH'

 

``Let's say each of them bought four extra tickets. You do the math.''

 

? The Internet.

 

It no longer pays to stand in line at the box office. While an estimated 5,000 stood in line for hours outside Pro Player -- including dozens of homeless people paid by ticket brokers -- thousands more were buying tickets online from their homes. Even that took many fans hours of waiting and disconnections.

 

Tickets went on sale at the box office and Ticketmaster.com simultaneously.

 

''They should have told us hours ago we were standing in line for nothing,'' said a furious Fernando Alvarez, who was next in line at 12:53 p.m. Thursday when they heard over a megaphone that all three games were sold out. ``We waited it out in chairs and sleeping bags. . . . They really took the fun out of this.''

 

SECOND CHANCE?

 

Marlins Vice President of Marketing Sean Flynn said everyone had a fair shot at tickets, and that it's possible Marlins fans might have a second chance.

 

The Marlins quietly released blocks of tickets to South Florida buyers only in the few days before the sold out Cubs/Marlins series. Flynn said such a move is typical for several reasons: Tickets are returned by other clubs, Major League Baseball and the media; credit card transactions fall through.

 

''Sometimes it's something as simple as moving a [television]camera that opens up seats late,'' Flynn said.

 

Fans should keep checking, but it's no guarantee.

 

Marlins officials said fans first began to arrive at Pro Player Stadium shortly after the Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 9-6 in Game 7 to win the National League Pennant late Wednesday night.

 

YELLOW BRACELETS

 

The early fans in line were handed numbered yellow bracelets to guarantee their spot in line for Thursday and then sent home.

 

The bracelet idea was a bust. On Thursday, there were arguments as braceleted fans arrived and appeared to cut in line. Even most of the braceleted fans were left ticketless.

 

Nearly 2,000 bracelets were issued, the last man to receive a ticket wore bracelet number 483 -- Kevin Chandler, 27, of Coral Springs. He bought one ticket, upper deck, game 5.

 

Each fan was allowed to purchase a maximum of six tickets per game, or 18 in total.

 

''The fact everybody was up here buying 18 tickets screwed the real fans,'' Chandler said. ``A ton of scalpers were the first ones in line buying everything. Now they're going to exploit fans and make thousands. It's really sad.''

 

Ticket brokers interviewed said they were paying homeless people $100 to stand in line with envelopes full of cash for tickets.

 

One scalper was offering upper deck seats -- bought at $60 -- for six times the face value. He was also offering to buy seats from others in line for three times face value.

 

Ticket prices Thursday on the Web, eBay and from ticket brokers ranged from about $250 for the cheap seats up to $3,625 for choice infield seats.

 

SKIRTING THE LAW

 

By offering transportation to the game and a fruit platter, many ticket brokers -- licensed as travel agents -- skirt Florida law that prohibits selling any event tickets for more than $1 over face value. You pay $60 for the ticket, and $300 for the ride to the game.

 

The same Florida scalping law applies to tickets for sale on eBay, but online auctions can be conducted legally from those states that allow it.

 

The best bet for tickets on Thursday was Ticketmaster, but even that had many fans scowling.

 

Throughout the Marlins playoffs, nearly 65 percent of all ticket sales occurred online, according to the Marlins.

 

Abelardo Leon, 68, of Miami and his wife spent hours online trying to get good seats. ''All we could get were nose bleed seats,'' he said. ``It's an obscenity. Where did all the seats go so fast. We really want to support this team, but they make it really difficult to feel good about it.''

 

Others covered all the bases, with friends online, in line and manning the phones.

 

Dorothy Eisenberg took a clever route.

 

The Miami Beach accountant called Ticketmaster in Orlando hoping to bypass the busy signals in Miami. She got through quickly. The recorded prompts took her credit card information and address, and the computer voice said her four club-level seats for Game 5 would cost $625.60.

 

PLEASE HOLD

 

Then the voice asked her to hold.

 

''Nobody ever came back on the phone,'' Eisenberg said. ``I was on hold for about an hour. Then I lost the call.''

 

The line around the Marlins downtown ticket outlet Marlins En Miami on Southwest Eighth Street and 37th Avenue circled the block. While street vendors sold everything from ice cream to Marlins hat umbrellas, those in line played dominoes and cards.

 

Raul Izquierdo, 40, emerged from the outlet about 10:20 a.m., only 20 minutes after the tickets went on sale. He was wearing coveted pink bracelet No. 8. That meant he was eighth in line. But it didn't mean he got great seats.

 

NOT BAD

 

Section 130, Row 3, right field bleachers, not bad.

 

''I've been hanging out playing dominoes and drinking beer for 72 hours,'' he said.

 

Then it was Leo Rayon's turn to exit the store. He said he'd been there since 9 a.m. Tuesday. He had number 58 on his wrist, and several tickets for upper deck section 441 in his hand. That's a long way from home plate.

 

But Rayon grinned.

 

``Beggars can't be choosers''

 

why the f*** didnt i think about calling out of town. my mom says that some dude told her he called out of state to avoid the busy signals and got tickets quickly.

 

this thing sickens me

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sport...all/7034702.htm

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