‘Malicious attack’ suspended ticket sales | VailDaily.com

‘Malicious attack’ suspended ticket sales

Steve Lynn
Vail CO, Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyMatthew Austin, of Edwards, checks a Web site for World Series ticket sales Monday in Avon. Locals were frustrated about online ticket sales, which the Colorado Rockies suspended after computer problems.

EAGLE COUNTY ” Colorado Rockies officials said Monday night their computer system for online-only World Series ticket sales was the target of an “external malicious attack” that required a temporary suspension of ticket sales.

The team said it had a backup plan that will allow online ticket sales to resume at 12 p.m. Tuesday.

Rockies spokesman Jay Alves couldn’t immediately provide details of the attack, but said the Rockies ticket Web site would be back up. He said nearly 18,000 tickets were available for each of the three games scheduled for Denver ” Games 3, 4, and 5 ” which will take place Saturday and Sunday and, if necessary, Monday night.

“We absolutely have backup plans in place,” Alves said without elaborating, referring questions about the attack to Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan Inc., which runs the computers for the Rockies’ World Series ticket sales.

Company representatives did not immediately return phone messages.

“Throughout the day we’ve evaluated all of our options, and we continue to believe that the only sales approach is the most fair and equitable method to distribute the tickets,” Rockies’ team president Keli McGregor said in a statement.

Adam Gilmer has been “hanging on” for the last 15 years for the Colorado Rockies to make the World Series, so waiting through Monday’s ticket fiasco was frustrating.

“I went to opening day,” said Gilmer, an intern architect at Berglund Architects in Edwards. “I love the Rockies.”

Coors Field seats went on sale Monday at 10 a.m. as the Rockies put its tickets up for sale, but only online. Like many others, Gilmer and his co-workers clicked the refresh button on their Internet browsers for two hours Monday morning until the Rockies suspended their World Series ticket sales after noon. Team officials have said their computers were ready to handle the expected rush of traffic.

But two hours after the tickets went on sale, many frustrated fans reported they could not get access to the ticket-sales Web site. Gilmer had some stern words for those responsible.

“How do you idiots not think this is going to happen?” Gilmer said.

Alves said last week the Rockies were prepared for any computer problems. But on Monday, there were 8.5 million hits, or attempts to connect with the computers, in the first 90 minutes after sales started, he said.

The Rockies had planned a press conference at 5 p.m. to announce new plans for ticket sales. But they later announced that they would not be making any announcement until later this evening.

Less than 500 seats were sold before the system had to be shut down, according to a statement from the Colorado Rockies.

Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan Inc., which is running the computers for the Rockies’ World Series ticket sales, said the crash affected the company’s entire North American system. Paciolan CEO Dave Butler said earlier Monday he did not yet know whether demand for Rockies tickets caused the crash.

“This is not the Rockies’ fault in any way whatsoever,” Butler said. “We are working hard to address it.”

The Series opens in Boston with games on Wednesday and Thursday.

Coors Field seats more than 50,000, but about 30,000 spots per game are allotted to season-ticket holders, the two teams and Major League Baseball.

The Rockies limited sales to four per person per game.

Allison Whalen was getting lunch to go at Paddy’s Sports Bar and Grill Monday afternoon ” her husband was waiting at home just in case the Rockies announced that they fixed the problem, she said. She had already seen the Rockies play the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. She didn’t have any problems buying her tickets online then.

So Whalen refreshed the ticket sales Web page for two hours straight in her Eagle-Vail home for World Series tickets, she said.

“Just sitting, clicking ” that was pretty boring,” Whalen said.

“As soon as it comes back, I’ll do the same thing,” she added.

Mike Connolly, owner of Peak Properties, watched as several of his employees clicked away for tickets.

“The rest of the guys in my office were trying and wasting all my money,” Connolly said jokingly.

With all the Rockies fans in the Vail Valley and people who have moved here from Boston, the next couple weeks should be interesting, he said. “It makes you wonder if anything’s going to get done,” he said.

Matthew Austin has been watching the Rockies “pretty much since the start” and he has been to seven games this year, he said.

“It’s something that we’ve never seen,” he said. “To be able to go to the World Series on our home playground is amazing.

Austin and his roommates were trying on their computers in their Edwards home.

“We were yelling room to room, ‘You got it yet, you got it yet?'”

Howard Leavitt, of Wildridge, wants to take his 9-year-old son, Donnie, to a game this weekend. He synchronized his computer clock to atomic time and got on the Web site “five seconds” after the tickets went on sale.

Two hours later, he was still refreshing the Web page.

“I’m sure that their intentions were good, but they should know better,” Leavitt said.

Austin will get tickets, even if he has to go to Denver and pay the markup from ticket scalpers.

“All you can do is just hope that you can get them,” Austin said.

Season-ticket holders got a chance to buy their tickets last weekend. Prices range from $65 to $250.

Tickets originally were to be sold at Coors Field and Rockies’ Dugout Stores in the Denver area, as well as online. The team announced Wednesday all sales would be online, saying that would be more fair.

The Red Sox held a random online drawing for the right to buy tickets to Fenway Park games, said Ron Bumgarner, vice president of ticketing. The Oct. 15 drawing attracted more than 350,000 fans; the winners bought tickets at a private sale.

The team also had a telephone sale for fans without computer access, Bumgarner said.

“It’s our goal to try to make it as smooth and fair and efficient as possible,” he said.

A limited number of tickets will also go on sale at Fenway Park on game day, with fans allowed to line up five hours before game time.

Fenway Park tickets range from $50 to $225.

One ticket broker was selling lower-deck tickets for Coors Field for between $1,400 and $5,500. One online seller offered tickets in the normally cheap Rockpile section for more than $17,000, although better seats were available for less.

TicketsNow, which sells tickets mostly from season ticket holders online, said traffic on its site quadrupled Monday morning and the average price of a Rockies ticket rose by about $200 to $995 by late afternoon. The average price of a ticket at Fenway Park sold on the site Monday was $1,096, senior vice president Mark Hodes said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

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