Yankees order NYCFC to stop taking print-at-home tickets, fans locked out of stadium for home opener

I wrote up an article for Vice Sports on Friday on how several sports teams, including the New York Yankees and Minnesota Timberwolves, have banned the use of print-at-home tickets, ostensibly to prevent fraud and counterfeiting but really because it allows them to control the resale of tickets via their own phone apps. I didn’t cover it here because it’s not really so much about stadiums, but following yesterday’s fiasco at NYCFC‘s home opener, I can’t resist:

NYCFC, which plays at Yankee Stadium, announced Friday that the team would no longer accept paper tickets, but the policy would be phased in.

The change—shockingly—led to chaos at Sunday’s NYCFC game.



Apparently what happened is that NYCFC allowed the use of print-at-home tickets, but required that they be “verified” before fans could enter, whatever that means. (Isn’t verification what the scanners at the turnstiles do?) The result was that shortly before game time (it’s hard to tell whether this was taken eight minutes before game time or just posted then), the inside of the stadium looked like this:

With NYCFC half owned by the Yankees, I can’t wait to see how they to resolve this by suggesting that fans all get their fingerprints scanned.

UPDATE: We have our first eyewitness report, and it indicates that the problem yesterday may have been due more to incompetence than intent:

UPDATE #2: An NYCFC official says the problem wasn’t the print-at-home tickets, which were accepted at all gates, but an eight-minute malfunction with the turnstile scanners that backed up the queues at the peak of pregame entry. Still awaiting word back on what the “verification” process was that had tickets scanned once before fans went through security and once after.

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4 comments on “Yankees order NYCFC to stop taking print-at-home tickets, fans locked out of stadium for home opener

  1. As much as I’d like to see NYCFC fail, it wasn’t as bad as the reports made it out to be. “8 minutes” photo was taken with way more time left before game start (the training equipement would of been cleaned up and removed by then and not on the field as In the picture.) Also the highlights (http://www.nycfc.com/post/2016/03/13/new-york-city-fc-vs-toronto-fc-highlights) show a pretty decent crowd size even early in the game. The ticketing system did reportedly crash before the game causing some issues though.

    Granted, I don’t know what the policy would do long term since NYCFC lucked out since most fans had paper tickets so could be let in via the one gate that accepted it.

  2. Were you there, jmauro? I’m very interested to speak to anyone who was, since the reporting on this was so ripped-straight-from-Twitter.

    There’s also some confusion in the reporting about paper tickets as in old-fashioned cardboard printed tickets (which will still be accepted) and print-at-home tickets, which seemingly required this “verification” step.

    Finally, to be fair, getting into the new Yankee Stadium can be at the best of times, so the lines could easily have had nothing to do with the new ticket policy.

  3. There were 30,000 people at the match last night, and seats were very full even during player warmups. The photo references must’ve been at 3PM when the gates opened, because by 4/4:30 the stadium was packed. NYCFC e-mailed everyone attending the match to inform them that printed tickets would be honored but there would be a 2 step process for validating tickets at the gates. I didn’t hear of any problems.

  4. Steven, did you use printed tickets? Do you know what the two-step validation process was? (I’m almost more curious about this than the reason for the crowds.)

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