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Success in 2007 individual game ticket grab

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Stunning SRO Score
A Few Tickets Still Available

See the end of the story for info on available tickets (as of 10:30 p.m.)

So individual game tickets went on sale this morning for the New England Patriots 2007 season. As always, I was warming up all week on clicking, refreshing, clicking refreshing.

My brother and I split up the season. I took the first four home games; he took the last four. My group consisted of San Diego, Buffalo, Washington and Cleveland. He had Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York (Jets) and Miami.

We decided against San Diego because the Chargers are obviously excellent, and it's the first game of the season. As I've been preaching the last couple years (and long before), Week 1 is a crap shoot, and we didn't really want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a game in which the outcome is basically the flip of a coin.

We also ignored the last game. If Week 1 is 50-50, Week 16, two days before Christmas, in freezing Foxboro, with likely nothing on the line .. Well, let's put it this way: Unless New England is going for 16-0 and Matt Cassel isn't slotted under center, there are warmer, more appealing ways to spend the Sunday before Christmas.

We wanted at least one division game, so we'd go after the Bills and the Jets. We also wanted what would be expected to be a couple good and important games, so we'd go after Pittsburgh and Philly. But if things looked bleak early -- that is, if we got shut out on Buffalo and New York, I'd go after Cleveland, which I would expect would be in less demand.

Preseason? I don't think so.

We go for Standing Room tickets. They're historically easier to get and we don't like being shoe-horned into seats. SRO is generally a lot more fun, in our experience.

So we had a basic plan. We were in different locations. That's just the way it worked this year, but it's important, because Ticketmaster has year-by-year incorporated rules to "promote fair access to tickets." One of those rules (I'm pretty sure) is that Ticketmaster tracks requests that come from a given IP address, meaning the same location, and so multiple requests can cancel out each other. That means you definitely don't want to make multiple requests from the same computer. If you try to get more tickets while successful request is processing, you'll lose those tickets (found that out in 2005).

So there I was at work (they'll be happy to read that). I set a couple alarms on my cell phone to make sure I'd be ready when tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. At 9:59 (there's a reason you sync your system to a network time server), I started clicking the link to the Bills game. "Tickets for this event are not available." Not on sale yet. Back-page, click, back-page, click.

Maybe about 20 seconds after 10 (according to my system's clock), I got a ticket request page. I was in a rhythm, and I back-paged before I was able to stop myself. I quickly clicked forward-page and luckily got back to the ticket request page. Four tickets, submit. Type in the graphic-style characters (looks like they've gone back to a real word, and it's readable -- these are to prevent "bots" usually employed by brokers from automatically making ticket purchases). Wait. "2 minutes to process your request." "1 minute ..." Purchase page.

Sweet. We're going to at least one game this year. I have a Ticketmaster account, so completing the transaction is quick, and it's back to the game list. Since I have one game in the bank, I skip Cleveland and Washington. Those will probably last longer, and I'll come back to them if we can't get anything else. I go for Philly (which technically was in my brother's group, but I was still waiting to hear if he got the Jets wrapped up).

Click on Philly.

Screeching halt.

I try not to freak. I got nothing last year, and I have at least one game this year. I should be content with that.

My brother calls. He got the Jets. OK, now we have two games. I tell him I got the Bills and was working on Philly. He goes after Pittsburgh.

I try to be patient and not click on the Philly link too often. Who knows? Additional requests might increase your wait time. There are rules, but who knows what they are or how they work or how they're enforced? It's like NASCAR.

Click. Back-page. Wait. Click. Back-page. Wait. I'm sure this thing isn't letting me in again -- at least not until the tickets are sold out. I must have sabotaged myself with all those 9:59 warm-up clicks. Click. Back-page. Click...

A ticket request page. I scratch my head. That was unexpected.

Select four. Submit. Enter the secret word. Wait. "5 minutes to process ...". Suddenly, it drops to 2 minutes. 1 minute. Whoa. There's tickets available.

I'm happy, but this strikes me as odd. If you remember last year, SRO tickets were gone in 30 seconds. I certainly wasn't happy then. So I'm figuring one of four things: (1) People were frustrated from last year's experience and just didn't bother, (2) People went after real seats instead of SROs, (3) someone really "beat the system" last year and scooped all the tickets extremely quickly, or (4) the Krafts are selling a lot more SRO tickets than they used to -- if people are OK standing 6 deep in obstructed views, so what? More money for us.

I complete the transaction. I now have 4 tickets for each of 2 games. Another little "fairness" rule Ticketmaster incorporated a couple years ago was limiting buyers to 8 tickets, so I relax. I'm done. And it was only 10:06. Last year, I worked for 25 minutes and ended up with nothing -- until the playoffs.

My brother calls back. He got through on Pittsburgh and requested 4 tickets, but his countdown says "15 minutes ..." Suddenly down to 5, then 2. There's something odd going on here. Again. But he gets tickets and we close up shop. It's been an extremely successful 15 minutes, especially considering last year's shutout.

This leaves us with a game on Sept. 23 (Week 3) and then three games in four weeks (Weeks 12, 14 and 15) from Thanksgiving to mid-December.

This is an expensive enterprise. Standing Room tickets are $49 each, plus a $8.20 "convenience charge" and some other general purpose we're-taking-your-money charger. On a set of four tickets, your paying almost as much for "convenience" as you are for an actual ticket. (Actual seats range from $59 to $125 per ticket). And that doesn't account for parking ($30 to $40) or food or souveniers, if those are in your plans.

But there's nothing like a New England Patriots game in Foxboro, especially in these golden years.

As of a couple minutes prior to this posting, there were still tickets available for:

Washington: SROs. Unknown how many, but at least 4.
New York: Single seats (at least 1). No pairs or more. No SROs.
Miami: SROs. Unknown how many, but at least 4.
There may be preseason tickets available. I didn't check.


Any luck getting tickets this year?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Yes! More than one game. This rocks!
    (6 votes)
  • 5%
    Yes. I got one game. I'm happy.
    (1 vote)
  • 38%
    No. I didn't try.
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    No, but I'm checking now.
    (0 votes)
  • 22%
    No. I tried .. but denied!
    (4 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now