Vegas Fans Mad Over Ticket Giveaway

A planned free concert by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Weezer during the Las Vegas Centennial generated more controversy after the second round of ticket giveaways May 16th.

Some fans stood in line for hours under the impression that the tickets were first-come, first-served, only to find that the 5,000 were given away through a random distribution system that did not necessarily reward those who had been in line the longest.

City officials said the system, which dispersed tickets through various outlets around the city, was fair.

Under the Ticketmaster-helmed distribution process, fans were assigned numbers – one of which was selected at random to determine the first person in line. Those with numbers following that person then lined up in order.

Some fans complained to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they had been waiting in line since midnight but didn’t find out about the ticketing system until 9 a.m.

Las Vegas Centennial spokeswoman Lori Nelson said that organizers informed media outlets of the ticketing process through a press release.

“We had disclosed that it was random distribution and it was the media outlets who failed to communicate that to the public,” Nelson told Pollstar. She said the random distribution system is a “common practice” of TM.

Ticketmaster Las Vegas GM Phil Misiura stuck to the basics in his statement: “With a show like this coming to town, consumer demand is huge. Ticketmaster distributed several thousand tickets to local residents in a matter of minutes.”

The concert is scheduled for July 2nd as part of the city’s 100th anniversary celebration.

After 35,000 tickets were given away online in April, ducats began appearing on eBay for upwards of $70 apiece. Mayor Oscar Goodman denounced the resellers and threatened prosecution. City and county laws prohibit ticket scalping.

Nelson stressed that the Review-Journal was erroneous in its report that the second batch of tickets was an attempt to make amends for the first giveaway.

“The 5,000 extra tickets for locals were always set aside,” she said.

Niilo Smeds