COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Tens of thousands of fans flooded the Atlanta Braves website Thursday to try and grab free tickets for Friday's World Series celebration. Many of them, including Alex Parkman, were unsuccessful, while others turned to other websites to make a profit.
Parkman, who is a Braves Insider, was on the Ticketmaster website for nearly four hours. He'd refresh it and get error messages multiple times, until finally getting that "sold out" message he was dreading.
"I was seeing that the tickets were disappearing," he said. "The first row went, then obviously the first section went."
Then the inevitable happened. Those tickets he had promised his father ended up on other websites, being sold for dozens if not hundreds of dollars.
"I was mad. I was angry," Parkman said. "It sucks because it's free, and then you see on eBay $300, $400 for free tickets."
Many others echoed Parkman's sentiment on social media. Another Braves fan texted 11Alive's Paola Suro:
"I tried reserving tickets this morning and it was a mess. I was supposed to get a code at 11:30 to get early access to tickets and received my code at around 11:40. Then, I was in the waiting room for over 30 minutes. Eventually got in and it was just saying “Error” every time I clicked on a seat that was apparently “available”. Had to restart and wait in waiting room again. Finally got in around 12:25 and it said I had to wait until 1 for general admission. At 1 I went back into the waiting room and waited almost an hour just for it to say they were all sold out. Was very upset."
Four of those in-demand tickets were listed for $500 on eBay by William, who lives out of state. He spoke to 11Alive over the phone.
“I think those who actually come out night and night again should probably have more of a priority than the ones who just decide to show up the last day and come to the parade," he said.
William said he's selling them on behalf of a season ticketholder, who won't be able to make it to Friday's celebration.
"The person who I know spends somewhere around $20,000 a year," he said. "He was able to get four tickets to the parade. Because he spends all this money, he asked me if I could try to sell his extra tickets, to try to offset some of his cost on his end. For those people, if they want to offset some of their major costs that they have during the year by selling one of the benefits that they get for being season ticketholders, I hear it. I don't necessarily think it's fair, but I understand it."
William says if they don't sell, he'll eventually donate them to a charity. Meanwhile, another eBay user we reached out to said:
"The proceeds of this sale are going to repair an air conditioner for a needy family suffering in the heat in Venezuela," he added.
Attorney Scott Connell, who owns the Connell Law Firm, said it's perfectly legal to re-sell free tickets online. However, there is a caveat:
“The problem comes into play if you're not the original purchaser of the ticket, so you have purchased it from the original purchaser, and now you're trying to sell it, that's when you run into a problem. Essentially, that's to try to help curb fraud," he said.
Connell said violating that ticket re-sale statute is a misdemeanor in Georgia, with a few exceptions.
“There are exceptions to that; if you have gone through the process of becoming a ticket broker, then you can re-sell," he said. "That's how several other outlets - they'll sell or some that just have sites that offer tickets for sale and you are purchasing from a purchaser.”
However, it's hard to police, so be careful who you're buying tickets from.
"It's just hard - law enforcement got so much to worry about outside of a Braves game or Falcons game or Hawks game," Connell added. "They're really not worried about it."
11Alive has searched many websites and tickets have ranged in price. Most seem to be upwards of $80, including fees, while others seem to be listed for hundreds.
While Parkman said he cannot pay for the tickets, that World Series win helps him forget about Thursday morning's frustration.
“I'll still be there tomorrow. I'll probably be in Cobb for when they come by," he said.
11Alive reached out to ticket-selling websites including eBay, StubHub, and Ticketmaster to ask if they regulate how much tickets are sold but haven't heard back.
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