Football Photographer, longtime Britball Zebra, and regular behind-the-scenes contributor to DC, Roger Goodgroves, got in touch to share information and opinion regarding the fiasco that NFL International Series season ticket renewal turned into last week.
Roger not only sheds light on some of the problems experienced, but offers suggestions as to how these can be avoided in the future!
This week in the NFL started in a big way on Tuesday with the live announcement of the teams for the four games to be played in London during 2017. Whilst reaction to some of the teams was lukewarm, there was almost universal negative reaction to there now being two games at Twickenham. There was talk that the NFL was picking poor teams to test if the UK is viable for a franchise, where match ups won’t always be top-notch.
The one group of fans the NFL will depend upon to make a franchise a success are the 39,000 annual season ticket holders who book to attend all the games. Unfortunately the NFL ‘conceded a Safety’ on Thursday when the Ticketmaster booking system had numerous issues causing frustration and anger with this most-committed community.
Issues included certain internet browsers that wouldn’t work at all, over 60 minute delays to get into the system and fans once in, unable to complete their purchases and being kicked back out into that long queue.
Most frustrating for the season ticket holders was the inability for them to successfully move the location of their season tickets to another part of the venue. This was an option that the NFL has said was going to be available, however it looks like nobody checked that it would work on Ticketmaster’s system!
In what in my experience is an unprecedented move, NFL UK announced that all booking fees for transactions made on Thursday would be refunded. This included transactions made after the issues with the system were sorted.
This is a very proactive and positive move by the NFL. Whilst it doesn’t secure the seats fans had in their basket and lost due to the issues, it does at least recognise that there were major issues that should not have been allowed to happen.
What would be great in addition to the booking fee refund are the following:
Existing season ticket holders to have another opportunity to change their seats
Fans lost out when good seats in their preferred sections were taken from their baskets due to the Ticketmaster issues. Even if they changed seats when the problems were resolved they didn’t get what they should have had.
There are season tickets that may not be renewed but are still being held during the booking window (closes 9am, 28th Dec). There will also be tickets held for existing season ticket holders who have now opted for different seats in the same venue and these will also not be released until the window closes on the 28th.
It would be wrong for these seats to be made available to new season ticket holders when existing season ticket holders were ‘robbed’ of good seats that they had, but lost, due to the Ticketmaster issues.
If the NFL agreed to this they should sort whatever payment/refund adjustments were due as fans may have taken seats in more expensive sections only because their particular sections showed no availability when the problems were eventually solved by Ticketmaster.
Set up a user panel who can ensure these issues don’t affect future years
A user panel should be set up who can assist the NFL in testing future ticket sale opportunities (not just season ticket renewals). They can give the NFL valuable information about what they would like to do and how this should look from a user experience. The NFL could reward the people who help with unique incentives (not relating to money) such as pre-game sideline experience or meet and greet opportunities.
Did you also experience issues with your season ticket renewal? Do you agree with Rogers suggestions, or have some more of your own that would help smooth the process moving forwards?
Share your thoughts in the comments down below, on Facebook, or @Dbl_Coverage, we’d love to know the community’s opinion on both the games offered so far for next season, and also whether more needs to be done to ensure the NFL’s most committed fans get the best experience possible?