MTS Centre implements system to stop scalpers


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Ticketmaster will introduce a "paperless ticket" system for prime seats at the Oct. 12 Metallica concert at the MTS Centre, the ticketing company and arena announced Thursday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/04/2009 (5177 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ticketmaster will introduce a "paperless ticket" system for prime seats at the Oct. 12 Metallica concert at the MTS Centre, the ticketing company and arena announced Thursday.

The Winnipeg arena will be the first venue in Canada equipped with scanners to validate buyers’ credit cards instead of paper tickets. The system is designed to thwart scalpers.

Every MTS Centre concert from Metallica forward will use the system to sell the best 20 per cent of seats.

"We¹re the first (in Canada) because we¹ve been really aggressive in getting Ticketmaster to help us come up with a solution (to combat) unauthorized reselling of prime tickets through the Internet," said Kevin Donnelly, senior vice-president and general manager of the MTS Centre.

"We want to control the best seats in the house in a manner that the buyer is the user."

When Metallica tickets go on sale Saturday, the best 20 per cent of available seats will be sold as paperless tickets by phone and online.

An "electronic ticket" is registered on the buyer¹s credit card. When the buyer enters the concert, he or she will have to swipe the credit card through a scanner to obtain entry. A chit will be printed to show the seat number and permit the ticket holder to go in and out.

If four tickets have been purchased, the credit card must be swiped four times.

Although Ticketmaster said in a news release that photo I.D. would have to be shown as well, Donnelly said that is not correct, and only the credit card is needed.

In situations where a parent buys tickets for a teen, a ticket is bought as a gift, or a substitute is attending in place of a patron who is sick, he said the credit card that was used for the purchase should be borrowed for the evening so it can be swiped.

"(The system) does have these limitations to it," he said. "We’ve decided the pros far outweigh the cons."

He said customer-service staff will be on hand at concerts to deal with any issues that arise — for example, a stolen or lost credit card — on a case-by-case basis.

"We¹re not trying to inconvenience the fans. We’re trying to put these tickets back in the hands of local people so they can get them at face value."

Patrons who want to pay cash and access the "paperless" seats can do so at the MTS Centre box office only. Those patrons will have to show photo I.D. both at the time of purchase and when they enter the concert.

There are no plans at present to use the system for Moose games or family events such as ice shows that are not prone to scalping, Donnelly said.

The new system will not change the fees charged by Ticketmaster.

The paperless technology was first introduced on Tom Waits’ 2008 Glitter and Doom tour.

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