U2 concert ticket chaos

2010-10-25 11:21
Duncan Alfreds
Cape Town - As fans clamoured for U2 concert tickets, frustration has been growing in some quarters as the Computicket website crashed and was unavailable for bookings.

"It was impossible to secure U2 tickets online yesterday as the website crashed as sales opened at 09:00 and at no stage during the day was it working properly," said News24 user Christopher Rawbone-Viljoen.

Shoprite, parent company of Computicket, denied that the site was down, but said that high demand caused significant slowdowns.

"Everybody was trying to get on the site - over 20 000 people," said Amiena Phoplonker, before adding that she could not to speak to the media on website issues.

The most expensive tickets are the Red Zone tickets which sell for R2 568 each, according to promoter BIG Concerts, but they were for sale on the classified ads website Gumtree on Monday for R7 500.


According to the BIG Concerts website, these tickets are exclusively available from Computicket.

"Only 800 Red Zone tickets are available from Computicket which cost R 2 568.00. U2 is donating their net proceeds from Red Zone tickets to support the Global Fund to help eliminate Aids in Africa," said the statement on the website.

BIG Concerts said that tickets could not be used for commercial purposes without permission, nor should fans buy tickets from third parties.

"We haven't given permission for tickets to be sold on Gumtree and it breaches the terms of sale," BIG Concerts CEO John Langford told News24.

"We tried to contact Gumtree, but they're base in England so we've been mailing each seller, and advising them that what they're doing is illegal," he added.

Langford said that they were comfortable with what Computicket had promised in terms of its ticketing capacity for the concert, but that demand was high.

"We were very comfortable with what Computicket advised us but there were about 30 000 people on the website at the same time buying the same class of ticket. No system in the world can cope with that. We anticipated huge demand, but it's about 10% higher than we estimated."

Shoprite said they would release a statement later on Monday.

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  • Gary Botha - 2010-10-25 12:46

    Absolute Lies. The website crashed, and at no point between 09:00 and 13:00 could you purchase tickets online. You could also not get through to the call centre (permanently engaged), and at computicket kiosks, Checkers was doing 1 customer every 10 minutes on average. I suggest computicket invests in some significant server upgrades. To say that “No system in the world can cope with that” is also incorrect. Proper ticketing companies in the UK deal with several events that have similar size audiences at the same time, with no issues. Competition is coming, it is time they realized that this absolute abomination of customer service is unacceptable and unsustainable. Customer traffic at “about 10% higher than we estimated” made no difference to the problem, I can guarantee that even with 10% of that traffic the site would have crashed. Useless. Exactly the same as the Springboks – All Blacks game. Useless.

  • fwallrustitie - 2010-10-25 12:57

    Its the same problem EVERY time with Computicket. A really slow site that takes a couple of minutes to open sometimes, 500 links on each page with thumbnails and a really poor layout. Not everyone has broadband and even then its difficult. They need to trim down the pretty pictures and have a functional web site that gives reasonable speed without having to load 200 items each time you navigate to a new page.

  • mrxdan002 - 2010-10-25 13:26

    Dear Computicket, no where else in the world would the levels of service that you provide be acceptable. For any big event it is not possible to book online (U2, WP v Cheetahs Rugby to name the latest frustrations). It is also very frustrating to go to an outlet to book tickets, because the outlets are just as slow and also go offline! Computicket and the event promoters (Big Concerts) do not care because no matter how slow or frustrating the ticket process is for the consumers, all tickets will be sold out eventually. There thus is no motivation for Shoprite to improve the system. It is up to event promoters to seek alternate providers, which will never happen!

  • Dyl - 2010-10-25 13:44

    I really dont understand why computicket have such a firm grip on the SA ticketing market..they are the Telkom of ticketing in SA and i think this is terrible. All the people want is to hear about an Event, buy the ticket and go enjoy the event..Why cant promoters like Big Concerts try outsourcing other ticketing outlets, such as Mr Prices ticketline or even just creating a dedicated ticket site for Big Concerts. I understand Computicket want all the commission from ticket sales but really..we go to concerts to enjoy ourselves..not to make Shoprite more wealthy. I have no quaam with Computicket or Shoprite..but seriously..try giving the SA public more than just one place to buy a concert ticket.

  • Ettiene - 2010-10-25 14:52

    I bought my RedZone tickets from the U2 Website last week Wednesday already. I knew this was gonna happen. Nah na na nah nah!!

  • Witrot - 2010-11-26 10:28

    I want to go so badly but I am way to poor..................... GeezusSSSSSSS life is so unfair!! TEARZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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