Ticketmaster Settlement: Free tickets, vouchers leave some Berkshire residents wanting more
PITTSFIELD — It's a little bit like getting a late Christmas present — and opening the box and finding its a pair of socks.
That was the reaction of some local residents who have discovered they are eligible for free concert tickets and discount vouchers from international broker Ticketmaster as part of a legal settlement with 57 million customers.
But the tickets must be chosen from a list of participating events, which is shrinking by the hour. And they weren't exactly prime shows.
"There seem to be a lot of '90s bands," said Jaclyn Stevenson of Lenox, who was awarded a pair of vouchers, each for two free general admission tickets. "It's a limited number of concerts."
In 2013, Ticketmaster lost a class action lawsuit brought by customers who were suspicious of Ticketmaster's "service fees." The company recently agreed to a settlement that called for it to give away tens of thousands of tickets to hundreds of shows via ticket vouchers.
Many customers also received coupons good for $2.25 off tickets to concerts and other events, such as sporting contests.
Ticketmaster customers who purchased tickets between October 1999 and February 2013 are eligible. The Associated Press estimated that Ticketmaster has freed up about $345 million in free vouchers for more than 500 shows across the country.
A Ticketmaster spokesman said the company also plans to open up more shows to the voucher program.
The shows and concerts were pre-selected by Ticketmaster.
"The options are, broadly speaking, terrible," observed Chris Plante, writing in "The Verge," a national online magazine.
"It looks like most of the bands I've seen are kind of past their prime," said Thomas Ryan, a former Great Barrington native who now lives and works in Arizona, but annually returns to the Berkshires in the summer. Ryan won two vouchers and several coupons for $2.25 off certain events.
"There seem to be more shows in the East," Ryan said. "But the selection isn't wide."
There are only a handful of eligible venues close to the Berkshires, such as the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York, the XFinity Center in Mansfield and smaller venues in New York City, such as the Irving Plaza, that are included on the list, which is available on the company's website, ticketmaster.com.
And the shows still available are mostly rap, country and tribute artists.
For instance, there are vouchers available for the Snoop Dogg and Whiz Kalifa show in Mansfield on Aug. 6 and at SPAC on Aug. 7. There are vouchers available for country star Keith Urban's XFinity Center show on June 25 and country singer Jana Kramer's show on Aug. 11 at the Gramercy Theater in New York City.
Tickets for "Satisfaction," a Rolling Stone tribute group, which is slated to play the Gramercy Theater on July 22, also were available.
Still, Stevenson said, some fans would be happy.
"Hey, they're free," she said. "I mean, Snoop Dogg? I'm not a fan, but who knows?"
And, Stevenson said, she and her husband will be watching for more free shows as they are announced.
Ryan, who primarily bought tickets to sporting events from Ticketmaster, said he believes he can put together several $2.25 coupons and purchase a ticket to the third place game for the Copa Americana soccer tournament, slated for June 25 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
"When I first heard about the settlement, I figured, 'Big deal. I'll get a coupon for, like, $1.75. Great.' But it looks like I'm going to get something out of it, so I'm OK with that," he said.
Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.