Minnesota fans’ mad love for Taylor Swift is turning into bad blood in some cases now that early tickets to her Sept. 1 U.S. Bank Stadium concert are on sale and causing widespread sticker shock.
Many die-hards and/or giving parents who got in on the singer’s Verified Fan pre-sale program — ostensibly a means to fight ticket scalpers — faced the dilemma of paying $795 or $447 for VIP packages with tickets in prime locations, or else $87-$153 plus fees for seats in the upper reaches of the 65,000-capacity stadium.
Just getting the first crack at buying Swift’s tickets cost a lot of time and energy.
The singer’s Ticketmaster-generated Verified Fan program required several weeks of jumping through hoops to get “boosted” to the front of the virtual line. Fans could earn boosts by buying her album in different formats, watching her videos or posting Swift-related selfies.
After all that, the verified Swift fans were given a specific one-hour window to log on and buy tickets starting this week. And that’s when they first got a load of the complexities and prices.
“I guess my teenage girls are going to be disappointed,” said Lance Schwartz of Mankato, who was given a buying window Thursday night.
Schwartz was left with the option of buying the $447-plus VIP package or paying $150 for “obstructed view” seats.He opted not to buy anything.
A fan who spent “hours upon hours” trying to get boosted in the Verified Fan program, Alyssa Pelish joined the chorus of complaints on Twitter.
“Wasn’t the idea of this so that ticket scalpers couldn’t do this to fans that have been there since the beginning?” Pelish tweeted as @AlyssaRelish, noting that the $795 “pit ticket” near the stage was half her monthly salary.
VIP packages included such extras as a book of Swift’s poetry and a laminated pass — which doesn’t actually get you backstage. These packages were listed on Ticketmaster for the Minneapolis show for $447 to $1,498.
“RIP my bank account,” tweeted a fan with the Swift-related handle @oncebelonged2me.
U.S. Bank Stadium representatives said fans can opt out of the VIP packages and still buy tickets in the standard $50-$225 price range, including many seats sold outside the Verified Fan pre-sale program, starting Dec. 13 via Ticketmaster.
USBS staff declined a request to provide a map or guide to the different ticket tiers — what’s being charged where — in the publicly funded stadium.
In a statement sent to the Los Angeles Times, Swift’s team defended the program as a way to reward the most loyal fans: “If these same tickets were offered on the open market, scalpers would snatch them up and fans would be paying thousands of dollars for them,” the singer’s representatives said.
Of course, scalpers are still having their way. Stubhub.com already has hundreds of tickets listed for the Sept. 1 concert, ranging from $150 nosebleed seats to $450 lower-level tickets to $1,200-$3,500 for floor access.
Plenty of Twin Cities fans did land decent seats, though, and said they were happy with the program.
“I’M SCREAMING I CAN’T WAIT,” tweeted 20-year-old fan Moana (@afemalediety), who gladly paid $450 for a VIP package with a floor ticket.
Ted Cheesebrough, who regularly buys concert tickets, applauded Swift’s anti-scalping efforts after he wound up with $160 seats in a lower level. He believes he improved his chances playing along with the boosting game.
“It was a no-brainer in order to get better seats for my kids and I,” said Cheesebrough. “It was a little corny, but I didn’t care. I am a little corny, too — and, frankly, so is Taylor Swift.”