Springsteen tickets eBay fury for fans
Questions asked after record sell-out for Belfast gig
Organisers of Bruce Springsteen's winter concert in Belfast today moved to quell anger among fans who were left empty-handed after tickets sold out in a record-breaking eight minutes.
Fans attempting to purchase their tickets online when they went on sale at 9am were furious to discover that they had all gone by the time they were due to be released - yet dozens appeared almost immediately on eBay, selling for up to treble the price.
And queues of would-be concert-goers hoping to see The Boss at the Odyssey Arena on December 15 were turned away from retail outlets shortly after 9am.
Several disappointed online bidders contacted the Belfast Telegraph to express their frustration that tickets were being sold on eBay for anything from £100 to £250 each.
South Belfast woman, Ann Gorman, logged onto Ticketmaster's website at 8.45am, but was told tickets would not be available until 9am.
Precisely 15 minutes later she attempted to buy tickets, only to be told they were all sold out. But she was angry to discover that tickets were immediately selling on eBay for two and three times the price.
"I said I would get tickets for my nephew but then decided to go to the gig myself as well," she said.
"I know it was 9am, because the news had just started, and yet I was told the tickets had all sold out. But there they were on eBay for £200.
"I can't understand how so many tickets were sold when they were only supposed to be on sale at 9am. I'm curious to find out how this happened and how many tickets were actually made available online by Ticketmaster.
"Bruce Springsteen is very much a man of the people and I'm sure he wouldn't be too pleased to hear that so many of his fans weren't able to get tickets to see him in concert."
Seasoned gig-goer David Spence also attempted to buy tickets online but was unable to do so.
Mr Spence, a teacher at Portadown College, said: "This would have been the ninth time I was going to get to see him.
"I've been to about 50 gigs and I'm well used to buying tickets online. I was at a high-speed computer at 8.55am, continuously refreshing the page until 9am, when I tried to buy four tickets.
"I was told there were no tickets left, so tried again, this time for two. But it still came up that all the tickets had gone.
"What I want to know is how 10,000 tickets could sell out by 9am. I know it's one of only two gigs he is doing in the UK, but I was on the ball immediately and if anyone was going to get a ticket, it would have been me.
"How many tickets did Ticketmaster actually make available to the public or were some held back for corporates? It's very frustrating."
A spokeswoman for the Odyssey Arena said, as with all its events, tickets had been made available to simultaneously purchase by a number of methods - the Arena box office in person or by phone, almost 100 Ticketmaster outlets, credit card booking and online via Ticketmaster.
She said that many people had opted to buy online and like phone lines, the web could only cater for a limited number of users at one time.
"The high demand for tickets this morning meant that from 9am, when the event went on sale, as well as queues at the Arena Box office, Ticketmaster outlets, on phone lines, there were several thousand internet users in a queue online.
"With the Odyssey Arena being one of only two UK and Ireland shows Bruce Springsteen will be playing this year, it was always expected to sell out quickly, which unfortunately means some fans will be left disappointed.
"The concert in fact sold out in eight minutes, which equates to over 20 tickets per second and more than 1,000 per minute."
Commenting on the sell-out gig, Odyssey Arena's chief executive, Nicky Dunn, said: "We are delighted that the Odyssey Arena concert is one of only two shows Springsteen will be playing this year in the UK and Ireland.
"As a result a huge number of visitors from across Ireland, parts of the UK as well as European cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, will be travelling to Belfast for their idol."
Prior to the Springsteen concert, the record sell-out was 15 minutes for Oasis in July 2005.