Winter Classic Alumni Game Tickets Sell Out Quickly

By: Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Tickets to the Winter Classic Alumni Game went on sale Friday morning, and less than 10 minutes later, the tickets were gone. That left a lot of hockey fans very unhappy.

The Winter Classic will be played on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field between the Penguins and Washington Capitals.

But the morning before, on New Year’s Eve, the National Hockey League is allowing a special alumni hockey game that will feature Mario Lemieux and other Hall of Fame players.

The $25 tickets went on sale Friday and, no surprise, they were gone almost as fast as they became available.

At 10 a.m. on Friday morning, Julia Johnson. of Baldwin. went online at Ticketmaster to get tickets to take her boyfriend to the game.

“He’s a huge Pens’ fan and the chance to get to see Mario Lemieux play would just be amazing. The ticket prices were only $25. You couldn’t pass it up,” she said.

However, every time she tried to buy tickets, she got this message: “They told me the tickets weren’t available, an exact match did not exist, maybe I could try again.”

“I remember looking at the clock on my computer because it was 10 o’clock, 10:01,” she said.

Other fans, like Chris Fisch of Moon, were more successful by telephone.

“I initially called the main number and it was busy. I tried it twice, busy signal,” he said. “This was at 9:58, and then I tried the express number, which is an automated system. I got through just fine.”

Fisch got his tickets; but by 10:08, nobody was getting anything. Part of the problem was that too few tickets were made available.

Heinz Field has seats for 68,000 people, and the Penguins told KDKA’s Jon Delano that they asked for more seats for this game. But in the end, the National Hockey League said, only sell 10,000.

The small number was not only disappointing to many, but it created an immediate mark-up in the $25 tickets. Prices on eBay were more than $250 per ticket, even $1,800 for four by 10:35 a.m.

“It’s like they’re people who are buying up tickets who aren’t really going to the game,” said Johnson. “It just doesn’t seem fair to the people who want to participate in it.”

That’s true, but there’s no law against it.

An NHL spokesman says the limit on tickets was simply a matter of timing. The NHL has never done a public event on the day before the Winter Classic, so this is a first.

Also, because the Steelers play on Dec. 23, the NHL has a much shorter time to construct an ice arena.

The alumni game puts production on hold, and the NHL says it wants to make sure everything is perfect for the real game on New Year’s Day.

  • John Koval

    The Scalpers gobbled up most of the tickets first by using those Tickemaster Bot Sofware and left little for us. Then they immediately put them on Ebay and other sites at inflated prices…

  • John Koval

    Same for the Winter Classic… what a scam!!

  • John Koval

    The Pens knew this would happen so why didnt they just put the price of the tickets where we couldnt afford them in the first place?

  • John Koval

    …yes I am ticked off.

  • Dana

    There is nothing out there to control online scalping??? How about when the enforcement agency sees tickets listed they make the buy then when they pick up the tickets (or even have them mailed — there is an address on them). Really, nothing in place to prevent scalping, PUH leez!!!

  • John Koval

    Ticketmaster Bot program is what the scalpers use to by pass the site and gobble up all the tickets before we even get a chance… happens all the time. Just wait until a few minutes before the game… then look on the resale sites… I bet the prices will go down drastically,because no one in their right mind will pay $1000 for a pick up game or to the Winter Classic… if you do, you need your head examined

  • John Koval
  • Joann

    It said on ticketmaster website that there was a 4 ticket limit. How did all these ticket sites aka scalpers get hundreds of tickets?

  • Mandy

    Green Day had an effective – although irritating – way to beat the online scalpers on their last tour…will-call was the only option to get our tickets. I don’t know if it was random or based on our seats, but there was no option to print my tickets or have them mailed to me. It wasn’t a big deal for us, but for anyone buying tickets for their kids or as a gift (or if you couldn’t go for some reason and wanted to sell the tickets for face value), it would have been a mess.

  • FixPGH

    Scalping needs to be made ILLEGAL. My friends and I tried to get tickets, and on Ebay there are 2 sellers both with more than 8 tickets for $400+. Now the good people of the city can’t even see their heros play. Ticketmaster needs to end, and the only way to get tickets should be through a venue box office – for ANY event. PLEASE NOBODY BUY TICKETS OFF OF EBAY! DO NOT BUY! Same for “hot toys” at Christmas time – if you buy them they know they can continue to sell things like this. We need to stop buying into tricks!

    I am so angry about this, I think something needs to be done!

  • Lisa

    I started calling right before 10 AM and got nothing but a busy signal. I tried the express line too and at 10:10 it said they were sold out. I also tried online and had two other people trying. It’s a shame the NHL doesn’t care about people and let this happen.

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