Purchasing issues with 2019 Rugby World Cup tickets have left many fans frustrated and empty handed for the international event in Japan.

The final stage of sales began on January 15 with those who had missed out on previous ballots getting access to tickets on a first-come-first-served basis. The process was then opened to the general public four days later.

However, many reported huge online queues and serious payment issues, particularly for those outside of the host nation.

“With more than 4.5 million ticket applications in the 2018 ballot phases, we anticipated incredible demand when first-come-first-served ticket sales opened,” a source at Japan 2019, the local organisers of the tournament, told the Japan Times.

“Over 500,000 individuals accessed the official ticketing site over the first four days of sales with over 180,000 tickets sold.”

Payment issues plagued the first sales round with many fans receiving a ‘system error’ message on their online applications and then losing the ‘pay button’ on the service.

This time, however, anger among previous ballot applicants escalated after waiting for up to 20 hours only to be rejected once more.

Others were faced with payment rejections after securing a ticket and then being kicked off, as there is a limited time to make a purchase, to the back of the queue of up to 180,000 people. 

One fan wrote on Twitter: “Emotionally shattered. Stayed up all night to book Rugby World Cup tickets for Japan but (at) point of payment it threw me back into the queue, saying site was busy. In the system for 24 min: well under the required time to complete purchase. Position in queue now in the 100,000s.”

Organisers responded: “While the vast majority of customers were able to successfully select and pay for their tickets, we recognise that a small number of customers faced difficulties.”

“While unfortunate, the issues experienced were exacerbated by the extremely heavy and concentrated levels of traffic to the ticketing site,” the source said. “We are working continually with our ticketing partners to address any issues.”

TheTicketingBusiness team hosts its inaugural Ticketing Business Asia meeting on 16-17 October 2019 in Hong Kong. Request an invite/more details here.

Image: World Rugby