The biggest ever deployment of Ticketmaster credit card-check technology led to U2 fans queuing for hours ahead of the band’s opening gig of their Joshua Tree 2017 world tour in Vancouver on Friday.
Fans took to social media to complain of being stuck in huge lines at the 54,500-capacity BC Place, with many missing parts of the opening act, Mumford and Sons. Some complained about the length of time they were waiting and alleged safety concerns, while others demanded a refund.
The band took to the stage later than planned to make sure all fans were inside the arena.
BC Place officials said the delays were because of a new ticket system from Ticketmaster used by the band. However, some fans alleged that just one entrance was opened for general admission tickets, with four for seated areas.
Ticketmaster provides artists with the option to use a new credit card-based entry system, where guests must present the credit card they purchased the ticket with at the door. The card is scanned by door staff and verified before patrons are let inside.
BC Place spokesperson Laura Ballance told reporters that the U2 opener was the largest deployment of anti-scalping, credit card-check technology to date, at any venue or on any tour.
She said: “This was well-intentioned, very well-thought out. There was a lot of planning… (But) we had a large convergence of guests arrive around the same time and that is when the bottleneck became quite significant.
“Obviously, it’s not ideal, it’s not what we wanted but when you’re deploying new technology… the processing times were not what we had hoped.
“We will continue to look at what we can do to combat… the scalping issue.
“We are extremely sorry that we weren’t able to process them quicker, but at the end of the day, we are searching for ways to ensure the right fans who want to see artists are able to do so in a cost-effective manner.”
Ticketmaster explained that the credit card entry is designed to identify tickets sold by scalpers.
The company said: “When credit card entry is the only option, it’s probably because the tickets are in high demand, and the artist, team or venue wants true fans like you to get the seats you want at face value by eliminating unfair competition from professional scalpers.
“Without the ability to resell tickets at steep prices, scalpers have no reason to snatch them up when they go on sale using automated software, or ‘bots.’”