More Ticketing Issues for U2:UV at the MSG Sphere
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-05-14)
Ticketing for U2’s shows at the MSG Sphere have hit more problems.
Starting on Friday, several fans seated in the highest priced section started receiving emails that the tickets they had purchased the last week of April would have obstructed views of the screens inside the sphere. While it was made clear in the email that the view of the band would be good, the seats in the 200 sections above these seats will prevent someone from seeing upwards and getting the full sphere experience, blocking a portion of the screen. These emails came from Ticketmaster or Vibee depending on how tickets were purchased.
The seats affected are all in the 100s section, the bottom level of seating at the Sphere. A representative from Ticketmaster shared that seats from row 30 and back are affected and may have partially obstructed versions of the screen because they will be covered by the seats above. We asked on Friday for more information on who was being contacted, and everyone who has received the notification has been seated in row 30 and higher. It appears to affect all the back rows in these 100 sections, and we heard from people in each section except for one that had received the email.
If you are in sections other than the 100 sections, or are in the rows numbered 29 or lower, you will not have received notification of this blocked view and are likely unaffected. No notifications have been sent out for seats in other levels to our knowledge. The seat maps which have been published on Ticketmaster during sales show an “Overhang”, and that’s been present since the start of sales. That overhang appears to start at row 26. (In the 100s row numbers start at row 12, and not row 1.)
The email offers three options:
- A refund of purchase.
- Keep the affected tickets at the same price.
- A chance to transfer the tickets for a new ticket for the newly announced December dates.
No efforts are being made to accommodate people on the same date with a non-obstructed view. The only offer for a non-obstructed view is to exchange tickets for a show in the newly announced December period.
These tickets were purchased two weeks ago, and at this point many have already booked travel and accommodations. Also, some have been lucky enough to purchase a second show, which would not be transferable to another show. Thus, in many cases, simply switching to one of these new December dates is not a simple matter. Even if hotels and flights are flexible, there are often penalties for changing dates, which will not be reimbursed.
Tickets for many of the shows are no longer visible on Ticketmaster, but for those shows that can be seen, there are tickets available for non-obscured views in these sections, however at elevated “Platinum” pricing. Why are these tickets not being used to move people with these newly discovered views? Why can’t these people be offered a lower priced ticket in the 200s or 300s, with a better view of the screen at a lower price point? And if there is inventory for these earlier shows, why can’t it be used to accommodate these people who purchased an undocumented obscured view at full price.
The seats in the 100 sections in the fan club presale retailed for $501.35, fees in. In the general sale with platinum pricing added some of these were seen for $1495 in price for just the ticket. These were also available via Vibee as a VIP ticket or as part of a hotel package. Although the seating assignments for the Vibee packages have not been sent out yet, those who will be affected by this obscured view have also been notified via email about this issue. (Vibee packages say that seat assignments will be sent six to eight weeks prior to the show, but in this case, they are contacting those who will be affected.)
U2:UV is being advertised as the opening of a spectacular new venue. One of the selling points of the show is the immersive views via the screens of the Sphere, which are being touted as one of the reasons to join U2 in Vegas for this performance. The visuals are so integral to the performances, that The Edge has said this show will only happen at this venue, and the band cannot tour this show outside of that setting. Although these seats may have one of the best views of the band, you’ll miss out on the screens, and the visuals that accompany this show. That to me means these should have not been sold as the most expensive seats in the house, and certainly not at the same price of tickets without these obscured views. It is disappointing to see that these sections continue to be offered at the same full price. New ticket pre-sale offers allow you to select only P1 as your option when picking a seat and does not give you a choice between obscured P1 and non-obscured P1 tickets.
After a problematic pre-sale, being blocked from purchasing at all in the fan club sale, or via verified fan, many fans were left with only one option to buy tickets. These expensive hotel and VIP packages were the only way for some fans to buy a ticket direct. Although an “overhang” was noted at Ticketmaster’s seat map, these tickets in row 30 and back were not marked as an obscured view when sold. Further, in these packages via Vibee and the U2.com pre-sale, one couldn’t choose what ticket in the section was purchased, you could only pick the section, and there was no notification that these seats varied in quality throughout the sections.
There are several options that fans can take if they have these seats. They have been given until Tuesday morning, May 16, at 7am ET to decide whether to keep, cancel, or change these bookings.
If you wish to go the refund route, do not expect your refund immediately. The fine print says it may take up to 15 business days once the refund has been processed. This could be important for those wishing to try other pre-sale opportunities.
For those who wish to switch to these new December dates, you have the same deadline. Vibee is promising “Your seats will be in the same P1 sections as you originally purchased in rows with a full view of the stage and screen”, and they also warn it may take 30 days for changes to show up in your account. Those wishing to trade in Vibee packages for the new dates should also be aware that if you choose the December 1 or 2 show, these have additional room charges of $250 per night over the earlier package prices, and you will be charged this $500 upon making the switch. These additional charges only affect the first two dates in December.
Even though Ticketmaster has sent out the email to fans who bought via the fan club presale, some are now being told that because the tickets for the presale were purchased through Tickets Today that they are unable to assist fans with those tickets. Others have been able to get assistance and have been told the exchange is applicable to the fan club tickets as well. At the very least expect some confusion if calling Ticketmaster regarding these offers to refund or exchange tickets, if you purchased via the fan club.
It’s disappointing that this has happened. The venue is new, but the overhang was clearly marked from the start of ticketing, even in the seat maps for the film being shown on non-U2 nights. If it was known that this would affect views, these tickets should have never been sold without a warning about the obscured views. That film? Doesn’t sell tickets in the 100 sections, so an obscured view isn’t an issue, as these seats are not sold.
Things have not been going smoothly with the ticket sales for this series of shows, and while it is nice that there are new shows in December which can help some, it leaves those who are locked in by travel and other considerations with no option but to accept the views at full price or cancel completely. The kick in the pants? You can see there are Platinum priced tickets in some of these sections for these nights affected. These don’t have the obscured views. Why is this inventory not being used to at least attempt to address some of these issues?