U2 at the Rogers Center in Toronto: Bots 1, Humans 0 (So Far)

The emails started coming at 10:15 this morning (January 17). “How can all 50,000+ tickets for U2’s Toronto show at the Rogers Centre be gone in less than ten minutes? Goddamn bots!”

Ticket-buying bots definitely figured into things–don’t they always?–but there weren’t as many seats available as you might first thing. A quick spin through the seating map last week showed that approximately 80% of the tickets were gone through various presales. That means when tickets went on sale this morning at 10 am, the general public was fighting over 10,000-ish available spots.

Naturally, StubHub had tickets for sale within seconds, starting at around $99.  Vivid Tickets was selling GA tickets for $381 USD and VIP packages for $2,400 USD.

Frankly, these prices aren’t that outrageous–yet. There’s no way that Toronto (or Vancouver, for that matter) is going to get just one show on this 20th Anniversary Joshua Tree tour. When both (all three?) Toronto shows are sold out, watch the prices rise.

What about elsewhere? Chicago’s Soldier Field is showing sold out as are dates in Boston, Jersey and Philadelphia. My sources say that only Chicago and Dallas posed the “are you a bot” question to those trying to buy tickets. Strange. By the way, Chicago already shows more than 250 options under the tab for “resale only.”

It’s also interesting that while pretty much all of Europe went clean the first day, there are still lots of tickets multiple North American shows (Vancouver, Seattle, San Fran, Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Miami, Tampa, Washington DC and Cleveland). Clearly, there’s a problem here.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

9 thoughts on “U2 at the Rogers Center in Toronto: Bots 1, Humans 0 (So Far)

  • January 17, 2017 at 11:07 am
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    Tickets are available, but a few notes:

    1. I scored my pair at 10:40 after several failed attempts at reasonable prices, and a few offers for ridiculous prices (see 2 below).

    2. Common U2, $100 bucks for 500 level seats? $240 with tax for two of us 14 rows up? SIX hundred for two tickets in the 100 level? SIX HUNDRED?! Yes, I was offered these, but I am not insane. Even a pair of “limited view” seats in the 100’s were still 100 each. I am also annoyed by the PR stunt by U2 to look like the ‘band of the people’ when they priced GA seats at $35. Yeah, guess who has to subsidize those tickets.

    3. As Alan has previously documented, the “buzz” of the U2 tour has declined in recent years, mentioning that yes, they always sell out, but they aren’t the band they once were. Even their relevance is finally slipping away. Remember how pissed off people were when Songs of Innocence was basically automatically downloaded onto people’s iPhones? Heck, Amazon is practically giving the vinyl format of that album away for $15 a piece (I still won’t buy it). These things considered, I find it super annoying that they are charging their fans $280 dollars a ticket plus service fees. No wonder people think Bono is an asshole.

    4. Yes, I am a hypocrite. Despite my bitching, myself and my wife are super excited to be seeing the band for the first time this June! I’ve heard over and over that any music fan needs to see this band.

    5. Keep trying, you’ll get something.

    Reply
  • January 17, 2017 at 11:18 am
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    I haven’t lost to a bot yet. I had no issues getting my 4 tickets at 10am this morning.

    Reply
  • January 17, 2017 at 11:50 am
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    I too was offered the pair at over $600 in my first attempt (although I was using my phone and a PC with 2 browsers open). I declined those and got the pair in the 500’s at $100 each and a pair in the very corner for $35 each. Both transactions were completed by 10:25am.

    I have always rated U2 as the “best band I’ve never seen” and now I will finally be seeing them.

    Reply
  • January 17, 2017 at 12:26 pm
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    I bought 2 GA’s last week at midnight off a link my friend sent me, I had to buy a $50 U2 club membership and then $70 each for GA’s , i dont even know if it was a presale, just bought 2 and checked out.

    Reply
  • January 17, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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    Yes. I bought my tickets last week. I first paid $50US to the U2 fanclub to get access to the presale. At 9am they did not have any general admission seats. They had decent $100 seats – but in the 500 level. At 2pm I logged in again. At this point it was no longer a presale. You could just login to ticketmaster and pay them $50Canadian to automatically get tickets. They made it easy. You no longer even had to go to the U2 site first. I was peeved they gave access for $50 Canadian when I had to pay about $70 two day earler ($50US). The good thing was they had floor seats available at that time. The presale seems to just another way to get more money for tickets. U2 is amazing. The show at the ACC in 2015 was as spectacular and creative as anything I have ever seen. I cannot imagine how they can top that but they usually do.

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  • January 17, 2017 at 8:50 pm
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    Ticketmaster never releases 50,000 tickets all at once. Scarcity is good for business. I guarantee additional tickets will be released.

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  • January 17, 2017 at 8:52 pm
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    I paid for the memebership to access the presale got 4 decent seats in the 200 level last week. I don’t agree with having to pay for a membership to buy tickets, but I’d rather give my favourite filthy rich band an extra $50 than a couple hundred to a scalper. Funny thing was even before the presale started there were hundreds of tickets up at the resale sites, something’s got to change how fair is it that the one company that has a monopoly on ticket sales also has a piece of the resale market? That has to be illegal at some point. It will be my 6th time seeing u2 and they never disappoint!

    Reply
  • February 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm
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    anyone want to sell me tickets at face value?now that would be a change – hope i get some of those later released tickets

    Reply

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