Harry Potter Fans Overload Muggle Ticketing System

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a stage play set 19 years after the events of the last Harry Potter book, saw a run for tickets “unprecedented for a theatre production” according to official statement. 

Servers struggled under the weight of, at times, 70,000 fans trying to purchase tickets simultaneously. Tickets for those who registered for the Oct. 28 priority-booking phase, which started at 11 a.m., were sold out so quickly that producers allocated another contingent to priority customers.

At 7 p.m. that evening, more than 175,000 tickets had been sold, which marks a new record in theatre history, according to the statement. Many Potter fans were left frustrated because of glitches in the sales process.

Some were overcharged, others lost their tickets last-minute after having spent hours in the virtual queue.

Tickets for the general public went on sale Oct. 30. While the original price categories range from £15-£65, touts are already selling them for north of £2,000 on secondary ticketing websites like Viagogo or Stubhub.  The production officially opens at Palace Theatre London in July 2016.

“This is yet another demonstration of the soaring worth of the secondary ticket market and unfortunately, provides another example of how real fans are missing out on the chance to attend their favorite events simply due to cost,” said Luke Massie, CEO of Vibe Tickets, before adding: “This has also been evident in the current Rugby World Cup ticket prices. In fact, recent research by Vibe Tickets shows that just under half (47%) of consumers miss out on major sporting events as they cannot afford tickets.”

The UK government recently announced a review of the secondary ticketing market, followed by the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) announcing plans to develop a code of practice for the UK secondary ticketing market. In the meantime, producers of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” announced they “reserve the right to refuse admission to customers with tickets purchased on re-sale websites.”