Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More on US World Cup Tickets

On Sunday I wrote a little piece on the US ticket allocation. I pointed out some problems but basically gave the USSF the benefit of the doubt. This is partly due to my nature and also due to me finally finding out that I did indeed get tickets. After checking my email every minute for almost 24 hours, I was on a bit of a high when I got my notice.

However, I have had a couple days to think about things, get some sleep and read the stories of my fellow US fans who did not get the positive email and you know what, it really pisses me off.

I think the kicker of it all was the notice that was place up on the US Soccer website. Here is what they said:

"SPECIAL WORLD CUP TICKET ALERT: If you have not received an application status e-mail at this time, you have have been placed on the waiting list and are eligible to participate in FIFA's Phase III lottery."

The problem is the time that it was placed on the site. I last looked at the page on Sunday at about 2pm EST and it was not up then. From reading other people's notes on this, it was not posted till 5pm EST at the earliest (some people put the time at 5:30 or even later). The problem being that people only had till 6pm EST to fill out the application for FIFA's Phase III lottery.

So best case scenario, people had one hour to check the web site (something we were never told to do) and fill out the application for FIFA.

But then I looked at this notice:

Notice anything? It is really, really small type. The normal font size they use for headers is right around the size of "Injury Bug." Why didn't they put something that big for the Ticket Alert? Also, why didn't they put it in red? Then there is the font size of the actual notice. It is smaller then the font size of their regular stories. Why? Go take a look at the site to see for yourself.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is news that Chris Albright has been hurt, but is this a bigger piece of news to fans who are waiting to hear about World Cup tickets (I want to add that I know that at the time of the posting, the Albright story was not the top story. Instead it was a story about Kristine Lilly getting ready for her 300th cap, but the point is still the same; is this bigger news then urgent World Cup Ticket information?).

But even if they put this notice in huge three inch letters that danced and sang, it doesn't matter much because they never told ticket seekers to look at the home page for notice. They specifically stated that email would be sent out.

Here is what their email from last Friday stated as far as ticket notification:

Applications are currently being assigned tickets and over the next few days, you will receive one of two possible e-mails.

1 - The first possible e-mail is a confirmation of the fulfillment of your application. The games, number of tickets, and price categories awarded to you will be provided. At the time you receive the e-mail your credit/debit card will have been charged for the amount of tickets allocated to you.

2 - The second possible e-mail is a notification that you are on the U.S. Soccer Priority Waiting List. (Please note: U.S. Soccer has petitioned FIFA for an additional allocation of tickets and should any become available, tickets will be offered to those with highest priority on this list).

If you followed their advice, you would still be checking your email, even though the next line from the email read, "ALL FANS WILL BE NOTIFIED ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 14" (emphasis theirs).

There are a lot of pissed off fans and for good reason. Not once during this whole process did anything that USSF say would happen, happened. From the fax machines to the January 14th notification, the last month has been one of repetitive frustration. It is sad that while our team's play on the field has raised to the level of international excellence, our federation seems to be stuck in the days of old. How will soccer ever be taken seriously in this country if we can't even hand out tickets in a proper manor?

I still thank those at USSF that tried to make things go right. I do believe that there were probably some very low on the totem pole people that were working hard to get all the information entered correctly and trying to get information out there (in any organization, there are always a few folks like this) and to them I say thank-you.

However, to those in charge, I just want to say you screwed up big time and in the process you have hurt the people most devoted to the sport. I hope you feel a great deal of shame today and I hope you will do the honest thing and apologize and explain what happened. This MUST NOT be something that is brushed over. You messed up, admit it or the anger will grow.

Update: We Call It Soccer has a great list of all the events involving the ticket sale.


Anonymous Joe said...

Hey, I was about to let you know I was also on the case, then I saw the update on the bottom. Thanks, Mike.

Let's hope USSF does the right thing and offers an explanation, so we can move on.


4:42 PM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Joe, I agree 100%. We all want to move on, but they need to come clean to make it happen.

5:34 PM  

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