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Mission Ballroom cancels hundreds of Tame Impala ticket purchases, alleging fraud

Venue's 'Mission Fair Ticketing' has been shelved after complaints
Tame Impala.jpg
Posted at 7:00 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 21:01:01-04

DENVER -- Denver's new Mission Ballroom wanted to stand up to scalpers, but quickly found that may be easier said than done.

Just ask anyone who tried to buy tickets to the upcoming Tame Imapala show, which sold out in seconds. Many tickets immediately ended up on aftermarket sites at sky-high mark-ups.

Earlier this year, the city's newest concert venue had what seemed like a great idea.

"It's a random system where everyone gets an equal chance at a ticket," said Chuck Morris, CEO of AEG Presents Rocky Mountain Region.

No more scalpers. No more bots. A ticket lottery would level the playing field for fans.

"We're pretty sure it's going to work great," Morris said.

Fast forward to today, when fans are saying it didn't work great.

Michael Gradis tried to buy tickets last Thursday for his favorite psychedelic rock band, Tame Impala, but they were instantly sold out. So, he quickly searched resale.

"They were, gosh, doubled, almost tripled, in price and the only difference was a couple seconds," he said.

Instead of paying $65 for general admission, Michael paid $160 on the aftermarket, exactly what Mission Ballroom tried to prevent from happening.

Facebook lit up with frustrated fans, and Mission Ballroom posted that they are reviewing orders and canceling fraudulent purchases.

"[The lottery system] worked beautifully. It worked too well," said Don Strasburg, Co-President of AEG Presents Rocky Mountain Region, who said the Mission Fair Ticketing Reservation System has been shelved and is being re-tooled.

Strasburg said he was inundated with complaints from customers who hated not having more control, and he said aftermarket tickets were so hard to find that prices were exorbitantly high.

They stopped the lottery for Tame Impala tickets, he said, which explains why tickets were immediately on sale everywhere from StubHub to SeatGeek for more money.

However, AEG said, scalpers may not even have some of those tickets listed.

"They list them at a high price and if someone is willing to buy them they look for them for a cheaper price and then pocket the different," said Strasburg. "There are a lot of methods to attack these situations, however, nothing is perfect, and the more restrictive you make the ticket, the more difficult it is on the regular consumer."