Music

Mexico to fine Ticketmaster after Bad Bunny fans were denied entry to show

It was fans' last chance to catch the award-winning Puerto Rican singer before his announced break next year.

Bad Bunny performs in a concert at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo


On Friday night, Bad Bunny soared over a sea of screaming fans, sparkling wristbands and flashing cellphones as he rode atop a flying palm tree inside a stadium in Mexico City – the final stop in the reggaeton artist’s “World’s Hottest Tour.”

It was fans’ last chance to catch the award-winning Puerto Rican singer before his announced break next year. And while thousands were able to see Bad Bunny wave the Mexican flag onstage, sing his chart-topping hits with special guests, and perform below a kaleidoscopic explosion of colorful lights, hundreds of fans were denied entry after an “unprecedented number” of concertgoers were sold fake tickets, Ticketmaster said in a statement Saturday.

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“This caused an unusual overcrowding and the intermittent operation of our system, which generated confusion and complicated entrance to the stadium, with the unfortunate consequence that some legitimate tickets were denied entry,” the company said on Twitter, adding that fans who had acquired “legitimate tickets through official channels” would be fully refunded.

The ticketing fiasco in Mexico is the latest debacle to roil Ticketmaster. Last month, the company’s chaotic rollout of presale tickets for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour led to a lawsuit from fans and investigations by attorneys general in multiple states. Now, another legal battle and government probe could be heading its way.

Shortly before midnight on Friday, Ricardo Sheffield, head of Mexico’s consumer protection agency, posted on Twitter that he had requested a report from Ticketmaster about the Bad Bunny concert situation. In an interview with Radio Fórmula the next day, Sheffield said the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO) had already received approximately 1,600 complaints from fans who had been denied entry into the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Sheffield said PROFECO will require Ticketmaster to reimburse fans and also pay them extra compensation worth 20 percent of the ticket’s price. Additionally, the company will be forced to pay a fine that could total up to 10 percent of its earnings in 2021, he said.

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PROFECO has received previous complaints about the company, Sheffield said, and has been gearing up to file a class-action suit against the entertainment giant since earlier this month – partly because of allegations that Ticketmaster has oversold tickets for its events, as it is accused of doing for Friday’s concert.

The tickets “weren’t falsified. Ticketmaster said they were falsified; but they issued all of them,” Sheffield told Radio Fórmula, calling the situation “an elegant way to oversell.”

Ticketmaster declined to respond to Sheffield’s allegations, instead referring The Washington Post to the company’s statement on Twitter.

While Ticketmaster has mostly used digital tickets in the United States since 2018, the company still uses a paper system in Mexico. Although its digital tickets are safeguarded from “being screenshotted or photocopied and sold multiple times by unscrupulous resellers,” the paper tickets are easier to duplicate and falsify.

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Aitana Hernández, a longtime and die-hard Bad Bunny fan, told The Post she was one of the hundreds of people whose tickets were falsely deemed fake.

Hernández, who said she bought her ticket from Ticketmaster in February, had camped outside Azteca Stadium since Thursday morning, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a giant costume shaped like the heart logo in “Un Verano Sin Ti,” Bad Bunny’s latest album. After waiting outside for 30 hours, she said she was the 12th person in line when the doors opened. And that’s when the heartbreak began.

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“They started bouncing people – the girl in front of me, then me and then like seven people after,” she said. “They told me my ticket had either been canceled or was a fake.”

Hernández showed workers at the venue her receipt and Ticketmaster account. Then they called the bank to confirm the transaction. By 10 p.m., she had waited in five different lines and had her paper ticket verified multiple times – only to be told “if it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t pass,” she said. Around her, Hernández said, some concertgoers tried climbing over a fence while others had their tickets ripped in front of them; tearful sobs and angry cries rang out around her.

“I’m so sick of this,” she said. “As a fan you prefer buying tickets from [Ticketmaster] instead of resale because that’s how you know your tickets aren’t false. Then, who are we supposed to trust?”

Although the stadium’s security didn’t initially let her through, Hernández saw “a total miracle” happen Friday night. The sobbing pleas she’d made on Instagram went viral – “People all over social media started demanding: Let the crying heart in!” she said. Westwood Entertainment, a music producing company in Mexico that was raffling a ticket, took notice and offered her a way in.

When she walked in to the front row, Bad Bunny was playing “Moscow Mule,” a synth-infused song inspired by the artist’s drink of choice.

“I cried, even during the songs that you’re not supposed to cry over,” Hernández said. “A couple of girls there started asking me if I was okay, and when I told them what had happened, they kept hugging me.”

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“That moment was mine, and I’ll never forget it,” she added. “But I was one of the lucky ones. My heart breaks for all of the other ones. The people responsible for the ticket madness have to be held accountable.”

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