MEXICO CITY — As Bad Bunny, one of the world’s hottest pop stars, floated on a palm tree crooning to adoring fans for what was supposed to be one of Mexico City’s largest concerts ever, the stadium floor was far from jampacked.
But outside, thousands were trying to get in, some scaling the stadium fence after their tickets — many valid and purchased directly from Ticketmaster — were rejected as fakes by malfunctioning scanning machines. While the stadium’s upper seating areas appeared full, the sold-out stadium’s floor was half empty.
The fiasco prompted Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to condemn Ticketmaster this week, demanding the company reimburse valid ticket holders. The president said it made him emotional to see so many fans rejected from the concert and asked Bad Bunny to return to Mexico and play for free.
Bad Bunny has yet to speak about the ticketing problems in Mexico City.
Ticketmaster’s troubles are nothing new. The ticketing giant was forced to halt public sales for Taylor Swift’s latest tour after soaring demand for presale tickets crashed the computer system and tickets were resold at markups of tens of thousands of dollars. But in poorer countries like Mexico, more is at stake for many fans.
The country’s median monthly income is much lower than in the United States, and even lawyers make as little as $1,000 a month.
Yet Bad Bunny tickets were being sold for up to $900 by scalpers who had snatched them up, evading the company’s attempts to prevent a secondary sales market run by scalpers charging exorbitant markups, as happened with Swift’s show.
A group of Swift’s fans has since sued Ticketmaster over the botched sales, accusing its parent company of fraud.