The ticket to doom | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The last time I enjoyed an Ateneo-La Salle game, live, was almost a year ago. It was Aug.  28, somehow the “end” of a terrible playing season for my Green Archers, but for some reason, even though ticket availability to this legendary display of rivalry (which probably sold more than any other game in UAAP history) was iffy, I still believed I could get inside the coliseum hassle-free—just because I willed it.


I was wrong. Two days earlier, I was rushing to Araneta Coliseum on the MRT, going the “proper” route of securing tickets (I am strongly against scalpers). Earlier that day, I was told by cashiers at SM Makati’s TicketNet outlet that their stash had been sold out, and by then, tickets would be sold only in the coliseum.


I arrived at the coliseum ticket line to news that every ticket had been sold. That fast?


By Sunday morning, the day of the game, I obviously had not given up. Arriving at the coliseum at 10 a.m. sharp, still very hopeful, I discovered ticket selling would not begin until 2 p.m. I was flushed with joy, knowing that with enough sacrifice, I would still be part of that afternoon’s golden rivalry.


Though I was surrounded by friends from both green and blue sides, spent the last three years at the paper, and remain in touch with students from both schools, I still joined hundreds of thousands of sports fans blindly in search of a solution to this ticket nightmare season after season.


Like everyone else who lines up and expects convenient and efficient ticket purchases, I reached out to everyone I knew hoping they would share other ways or venues for tickets.


After my shock and frustration at Season 74 wore off, I thought the light at the end of the tunnel was near.


Just beside SM Mall of Asia and SMX Convention Center, a venue was being built—perfect for legendary Ateneo-La Salle games.


Opening last May, the Mall of Asia Arena has the great potential to be an iconic venue not only for sports, but also for pop culture, music, fashion.


Going to the Arena on the second day of this year’s season, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that ticket sales had gone online. Hooray! Through cleverly organized schedules and ticket information, I anticipated that alumni, sports fans and the public alike could now access the games without hassle—a far cry from those dreaded coliseum days.


False joy


I was wrong—again. I realized this as the July 28 Ateneo-La Salle game neared. Turned out, tickets to this game would be manually sold at the Arena premises on a weekday at 8 a.m!


This blunder was accompanied by an even more annoying statement which flooded Facebook sites: “In the interest of the UAAP, tickets would be sold on a …”


In the interest of what? In an instant, my head was flooded with adjectives, ranging from stupid and silly to senseless. How about the interests of those who skipped work, let alone missed classes, just to submit to such a system?


Friends were quick to appease my anger, instantly reflected in my social-network status messages. One high-school friend remarked, “I’m thinking it’s because their ticket system is not that sophisticated yet to handle the amount of traffic that will come in.”


Right. Could be. But I wasn’t crazy about the idea of discriminating against these two schools. A childhood friend offered comfort and a sense of realism: “Just go home. Not going to risk some sleep time to get tickets… I guess I’ll just watch on television. Good luck.”


I was quick to clarify I wouldn’t waste time falling in line, either. A discussion with another friend centered on scalpers, the “main culprit” year after year. But an online ticketing system should really zap out scalpers.


While scalpers have long been part of our lives—I succumbed to one 10 years ago, during the UAAP championships (a blue-and-green affair), and I vowed never to fall into that trap again—I believe it is the entire system that causes all the hassle and inconvenience.


Recently, another high-school friend texted her thoughts, suggesting the possibility of either the SM or UAAP camps “controlling” ticket sales. While this may be true, it’s quite hard not to be duped, after seeing Sunday’s games with an almost empty general admission areas in the Arena.


Somehow, I feel this piece is long overdue, and might be of little service to sports fans and supporters. I’d like to believe that things are bound to get better.


Scalpers, a shady ticket system, and lack of proper information ahead of time—they comprise our ticket to doom, because a culture of deception is the antithesis of the spirit of sports. At the end of the day, no one really wins.

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