Chicago Blackhawks: Fans seeking rally tickets crash Ticketmaster

By Matt Barbato

It didn’t take long for tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2015 Stanley Cup rally at Soldier Field to fly off the virtual shelves.

The Blackhawks and the city of Chicago will be celebrating another Stanley Cup with a parade Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and will conclude the celebration with a rally at Soldier Field at approximately 11 a.m.

There is a slight problem with the rally plans, however. Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, holds only 61,500 people. The parade attendance is expected to exceed over 2 million fans. Hundreds of thousands of fans flocked to Grant Park for the team’s rally after the 2013 parade that drew more than 2 million attendees.

This year’s rally plans were a bit different, as the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago offered free tickets to the rally at Soldier Field. The tickets were released on Ticketmaster Wednesday at noon and went rapidly, to many fans’ dismay.

Some fans dealt with wait times that lasted upwards of 45 minutes just to learn that the tickets were sold out. Fans saw a screen that said “Finding the perfect verified option,” only to learn that the only option was to try and watch the rally from outside the stadium. Others couldn’t even get through to the site, as Ticketmaster froze and crashed on numerous occasions, due to a high volume of traffic.

Another option could be scalping tickets on the secondary markets. Some fans who were fortunate to land tickets have reportedly started selling them on sites such as craigslist.

Holding the event at an enclosed area such as Soldier Field could be a back-handed effort at crowd control. Another theory is that the heavy rains and flooding the city underwent this week made Grant Park unsuitable for another rally.

Even if fans didn’t score tickets to the rally, they can still line the parade route. The players, coaches, executives and staff will ride on double-decker buses through the route. The route starts at Monroe and Jefferson Streets, then heads east toward Michigan Avenue.

The unfortunate ticket situation could put a small damper on the festivities, but it is merely a ramification of excessive demand. This is what happens when a team wins three championships in six seasons. Fans want to celebrate and this parade is surely to be the largest of the Toews and Kane era. There will certainly be plenty of ways to toast the Hawks not only Thursday, but throughout the summer, as Lord Stanley will be partying in Chicago all summer long.

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