Posted by: gravessack | June 16, 2010

More on the Ticket Controversy

Since the Star Tribune ticket controversy article came out on June 9th, I have been reading the many comments on this and one other blog, as well as talking with the Twins and to John Tevlin of the Star Tribune via email. Our post on this topic has gotten more comments than any other topic so far. Sometimes the comments got a little heated, but I like the drama! Here are a few highlights of the back and forth drama. Hold on tight, here we go!

What’s being said?

– Jon Tevlin (Star Tribune), June 9: I’m hearing people who say they bought their WC tickets from THE TWINS, as long as months in advance. One guy said he bought tickets for the July game in MARCH. From their web site. He called to say he wasn’t disabled, and they said it didn’t matter.

-Bulldog (on BallparkMagic), June 10:  How did I get WC seats for 5 games in September if the twins are holding them, not that I’m complaining.

-Andrew (on TwoMenOn), June 10: StubHub is a huge culprit here. Ask a group in WC seats that don’t appear to be with someone with a disability about how they got their seats, and there’s a pretty good chance their answer will be StubHub. It’s also common for someone to go to a concession stand and then take their food to the WC seats and eat it there before returning to their actual seats. This and the “Oh, we didn’t realize you needed tickets for these seats” people are the usual culprits that don’t belong there. Another issue with the fans is that they like to crowd the WC seats. The rule is that fans that do not have WC seats must stay either behind the railing if there is one, or stay about 2 feet behind the people that are seated. But as you can tell or assume, they don’t always comply.

-Joshua (on TwoMenOn), June 10: I’m sorry, but I’ve bought WC seats in the past for Twins and Wild games and am in fact sitting in the WC seats in left field for a game next week. I don’t see a problem with it. If the seats are sitting there unsold months after they first went on sale to the public and I buy them off StubHub a few days before the game, big deal.

-Ribchick (on TwoMenOn), June 11: It’s such an honor to finally be heard and get nice seats, good view, near the restroom, elevators, etc. We have a nice space at the new stadium and hopefully it will be respected and taken care of.

Interview with the Twins’ Kevin Smith:

Two Men On (TMO): What are the Twins doing to stop fans who can use regular seats from using handicap seats?

Kevin Smith (KS): We are monitoring the use, but since we cannot ask people if they are disabled when they buy those seats, we have to go on the honesty of that ticket buyer.

TMO: What would you say to the fans who are using handicap seating and don’t need them?

KS: We would ask that they not abuse the system.

TMO: When ticket sites ask for handicap tickets, do you honor it?

KS: No.

TMO: Do you have anymore comments on this topic to share with the disabled  community?

KS: It is the Twins’ desire to have all 794 ADA seats used every game. On most occasions, we do not sell all of them to since there are so many. So, if we have ADA seats available, we would rather sell them to able-bodied fans so they can have the chance to enjoy the game rather than having them go unused—especially in a year when tickets are scarce and demand is very high. However, our first priority is to make sure we maximize the use of those seats for the fans for which they were intended.

Smith also said, “We have nearly 800 seats that meet the ADA requirement, which is a large number. We hope our disabled fans are taking advantage of the opportunity to see games at the various and appealing seating sections throughout Target Field. Able-bodied fans are more than welcome to use those seats in the company of a disabled friend or family member. Not everyone who is disabled uses a wheel chair. The vast majority of our ticket buyers buy regular seats and do not abuse the system. As in all aspects of life, there are people who will try to scam the system.”

A solution by one of our readers: “What I would propose is that if a person in a wheelchair, or anyone who needs handicap seats, tries to buy them and finds out they are all sold out, they would then purchase STO tickets, or any other type of tickets and be permitted to go around to the handicap accessible sections, and ask people who are in the handicap seats if they would switch with them, and those in handicap seats who do not need them, would switch. Also, if people buy handicap accessible seats from the Twins, they should be told then and there that they may have to switch seats, if they are not disabled, and someone with a disability comes along.”

Final thoughts from Two Men On: This is obviously going to be an on-going discussion. If the Twins are selling handicap tickets to able-bodied fans months before the game, there is something wrong with the system. Jon Telvin has expressed interest in writing a follow-up story about this. We will keep you up-to-date and bring you any more details. In the meantime, please continue to send us your stories and opinions on this topic (and any other!).

-Michael L. Sack

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Responses

  1. “Kevin Smith (KS): We are monitoring the use, but since we cannot ask people if they are disabled when they buy those seats, we have to go on the honesty of that ticket buyer”

    Did Mr. Smith give you a reason why they cannot?

    There are other stadiums that do ask, some even requiring a form be filled out in order to purchase ADA seating.

    See the attacked link from the Baltimore Ravens site, at the bottom are links to their required forms.

    I haven’t looked at all the MLB official sites, but some like the Yankees and Cubs have written policies concerning ADA seat usage and sales.

    From the Yankee’s site: “Be advised that the Yankees reserve the right to take appropriate action against individuals who fraudulently obtain wheelchair accessible and companion seats, including, without limitation, ejection and legal action.”

    From the Cub’s site: “All tickets for the wheelchair seating area are picked up on the day of the game at Window #24. The wheelchair guest must be present at the time the tickets are picked up.”

    Seems silly to me to put in the extra effort and expensive of exceeding ADA requirements while making little effort to assure their proper usage.


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