Manitoba

Scalpers swoop in to take advantage after 'free' street party tickets are snapped up

Every ticket to the first Winnipeg whiteout street party of the Western Conference Finals has already been claimed, hours after they became available on Friday, True North Sports & Entertainment says.

Offering outdoor whiteout tickets for 'large sums of money' after all free tickets are claimed

All 25,000 tickets to Game 1 and Game 2 whiteout parties have been grabbed up, True North Sports and Entertainment says. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Every ticket to the first Winnipeg whiteout street party of the Western Conference Finals has already been claimed, hours after they became available on Friday, True North Sports and Entertainment says.

Roughly 25,000 free tickets went up on Ticketmaster at noon Friday for fans hoping to attend the viewing parties happening for Games 1 and 2 on Saturday and Monday, said Rob Wozny of True North.

Just before 4 p.m., Wozny confirmed all tickets to the Game 1 party had been claimed.

By 5 p.m., all tickets to the Game 2 party were gone, too.

The street parties, which temporarily close downtown streets during home games for the Winnipeg Jets, have been walk-in events up till Friday.

True North said it decided to make them ticket-only, in collaboration with Economic Development Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police Service, so fans don't wind up getting turned away.

Watch Economic Development Winnipeg president Dayna Spiring talk about ticket scalping:

EDW's Dayna Spiring on whiteout ticket reselling: 'Not our intention'

4 years ago
Duration 0:37
'We need to find a way to make sure that people don't get disappointed,' says the Economic Development Winnipeg CEO.

"We needed to find a way to make sure that people don't get disappointed and we needed to make sure that we could keep everybody safe and make sure that we could manage the crowds that we know want to be there tomorrow," president of Economic Development Winnipeg Dayna Spiring said at a news conference Friday.

"This is the best way we could come up with to do that."

Scalpers surface

Scalpers hoping to cash in on the tickets started surfacing early Friday afternoon. Ads for tickets appeared online from sellers charging up to $100 a pop.

Winnipeg police issued a release saying the service is aware some ads are asking for "large sums of money per ticket," but said no formal complaints have been made to police yet.

"The Winnipeg Police Service reminds the public to take every precaution before paying for these free tickets," police said in the release, adding that scalping is illegal under provincial and municipal law.

Spiring said scalping isn't what Economic Development Winnipeg had planned.

"It's not our intention that people are going to resell these tickets," she said.

Andrea Robin, a Jets fan who had hoped to attend the whiteout party Saturday, said she was confused and disappointed by the addition of tickets to the events, and frustrated by scalpers online. In a tweet, she shared one ad on Kijiji where a seller advertised just over 120 tickets for $100 each.

The ad was later taken down.

"It's kind of a whole bunch of stuff, going, well, this sucks," she said. "You're taking something that is really exciting and happy for the city, and a whole bunch of people are just screwing it up."

Robin said she and her family had planned to be at the whiteout party, but by the time she realized they'd need tickets, those tickets were already gone.

"It was just disappointing on many levels because there was nothing wrong with the street parties the way they were happening before, so I'm not sure what the reasoning was behind it," she said.

"I would hope things would change as things progress. Because as the Jets keep winning, people are going to keep getting more and more excited and want to share that with others."

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