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RSL fans left out in cold in tickets mix-up

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Hundreds of Real Salt Lake fans were stuck with invalid MLS Cup tickets after a pre-sale code was leaked online.
SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Hundreds of Real Salt Lake fans thought they had bought tickets to the MLS Cup Tuesday night when a special pre-sale promotional code was posted online.

The problem was that code meant only for Sporting Kansas City season ticket holders, so after fans purchased them, Ticketmaster voided all tickets purchased under the code, including those by Kansas City fans.

"I gave them my money, I should be able to get that ticket," said angry RSL season ticket holder Jake Simons.

Simons not only bought tickets to the game, but also spent nearly one thousand dollars on plane tickets and hotel rooms. 

"I freaked out a little bit," Simons said when he found out the tickets weren't any good.

"I went into damage control because everyone was freaking out," said Cidne Christensen, a die-hard RSL fan who also traveled with the team to Portland. "The first thought was Ticketmaster can't actually do this because the code obviously works, so it must have been a valid code."

It was for Sporting Kansas City fans, but not for fans of Real Salt Lake. The code, initially posted on a Kansas City newspaper website comment section, spread like wildfire on social media, and hundreds of RSL fans purchased the much sought after tickets.

"There wasn't a lot of care to how the code was distributed or who could use the code," said Simons, who still plans on flying to the game anyway with or without tickets.

Major League Soccer was forced to issue a statement saying, "Earlier this week, a limited number of RSL fans gained access to a secure link that had been established solely for Sporting Kansas City season ticket members to purchase MLS Cup tickets. Because RSL fans were not authorized to use this link, the purchase orders were not fulfilled."

That excuse wasn't good enough for Real Salt Lake fans.

"It almost places the blame on us as fans," said Simons. "It makes it seem a little bit like we're at fault for this."

Any fan that purchased tickets, will get a full refund, but that will take 7-10 days, leaving many fans who now have to buy inflated priced tickets on sites like StubHub, strapped for cash. 

"A lot of us were just in Portland this last weekend and can't necessarily afford to pay $200 for a ticket that's face value is $70," said Christensen. "So for some of our supporters who bought four tickets for the whole family, and want to buy the season ticket holder deal, they're not going to be able to afford it because Ticketmaster has all their money."

Because they are the visiting team, Real Salt Lake was allotted only 1,000 tickets, of which a few hundred were made available to season ticket holders. In a lottery held Wednesday night, those tickets sold out in less than one minute.

"I know RSL fans are feeling disappointed that they might not be able to get to this game," said RSL media relations director Sam Stejskal. "But Kansas City earned the right to host this game by having a better regular season record than RSL did. Therefore, because they're the home team, they get more of the tickets." 

"I really feel bad for those guys," said RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando. "They showed that they really want to be there. They committed to plane tickets and hotel rooms. Now they don't even know if they'll get tickets in the lottery to go."

Some fans were holding out hope that their invalid tickets will still be honored.

"Why not just honor the tickets and say they're going to move us into a different section, or something to that effect," said Simons. "Now with a knee-jerk reaction, you're taking a bunch of people who have spent a lot of money and just saying, 'Sorry, figure it out.'"

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