Blackhawks fans seeking rally tickets unhappy about website woes, online scalpers
Free Blackhawks rally tickets were devoured quickly Wednesday afternoon, leaving some fans to contemplate shelling out big bucks for scalped tickets online.
Soon after tickets sold out, scalpers were selling them on Craigslist for more than $250 a ticket. Some have been flagged for removal. On another third-party ticketing site, someone was selling four tickets for $3,000.
Blackhawks fan Thomas Bare is seeing black and red after a nearly four hour bus ride from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bare made the trip to attend Thursday's Hawks' parade and rally, only to find out that there were no more free tickets.
"It's kind of unfair to a lot of these Chicago fans that want to be here and show their support. Yeah, they got the parade route but the big party is on stage," said Bare.
The stage is being set at Soldier Field for the big bash.
Most Blackhawks fans could not score the free ticket on Ticketmaster's website.
"I was trying to get them on my phone and about one or two minutes afterwards the system crashed, it kept on saying wait, wait, wait. Thirty minutes later, still nothing and so here I am, it looks like I'm going to be heading back to Michigan, instead of partying tomorrow," said Bare in an interview with Fox 32's Tisha Lewis.
The chaos erupted at noon when rally tickets became available through Ticketmaster.
"I actually had ten different browsers open and it just, cycling through and I was just on hold and it just kept cycling and cycling and nothing clicked," said Danielle Engel.
Compared to years past, the new process to attend the Hawks' Stanley Cup rally was an unwelcome one for Engel.
"I think it's unfortunate that it came down to this type of a system in which you have to have a ticket to be a part of the experience," said Engel in an interview with FOX 32 News.
What an experience it will be – remember seeing endless Hawks sweaters fill Grant Park in 2013?
"To go from something that was in Grant Park which hosted 400,000-something people to something that's only 60,000, there's all those people in between that don't get to experience it," said Engel.
A spokesperson from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office says Grant Park is in no condition to host massive crowds after Monday's downpour.
"It would rip it up in a way that would create millions and millions of dollars of damage," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Blame mother nature.
Also, some made light of the fact that fans might have to buy a ticket to a free event: "Stand in the rain! Listen to corrupt Illinois politicians attempt to steal the show with their dopey speeches and awkward and forced enthusiasm for a team they know nothing about! Hear Corey Crawford teach your children how to drop F-Bombs in public! . . . Asking only $10,000 per ticket," someone posted on Craigslist.
Greg Chiakulas was one of many fans who couldn't score tickets from Ticketmaster. Chiakulas, a self-described die-hard fan, said he was lucky to find a friend with an extra ticket. But he thinks the venue choice has limited fans, many of whom made it out to Grant Park in 2013 in a much bigger open space.
"It's sad. I was one of thousands and thousands of Hawks fans that were at the rally in 2013 and it was amazing," said Chiakulas, 28, of Mount Prospect. "Everyone had to be there, and everyone was high-fiving each other. It was wide open. Everyone was just feeling it. You could hear everything. They had video screens and a microphone."
Ivalia Heredia was one of many fans unable to get tickets. She had big hopes to make it out to the rally. She was too young to go two years ago.
"I couldn't go. My mom wouldn't let me. I was 14 then," said Heredia, who's now 16 and attends Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Little village.
She was stymied again Wednesday. She was online for nearly two hours, waiting for tickets, when the site crashed.
"I'm disappointed," Heredia said. "But I'm still going to go down there."
The Chicago Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.