Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 1997

BULLS-SONICS EXHIBITION A HOT TICKET

June 11, 1997

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It took one day for fans to purchase most of the tickets for the Bulls-Sonics NBA exhibition game on Oct. 11 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Through Monday, 12,200 tickets were sold, meaning the final 4,000 or so will go on sale at 8 a.m. today at KU's ticket office.

"We knew the Bulls were popular, but not popular enough to sell this out in a day or two. We thought it'd take about a week," KU assistant athletics director Janelle Martin said.

She was surprised to see approximately 1,500 fans standing in a long line outside the fieldhouse as KU's ticket office doors opened at 8 a.m. Monday.

The line, which included about 100 fans who had camped in front of the building the past two days, was so long that a decision was made to cut off phone orders at 10 a.m. Monday. KU athletic department officials wanted to make sure tickets remained available for those who would wait in person up to nine hours.

Nobody in Monday's line was turned away, and the final fan was served at 4:45 p.m.

Today could be a different story with limited tickets in the $20-30 range expected to be sold before noon. Ticket orders also will be taken by phone today at 864-3141.

"If there's a huge line again, there could be a risk you won't get a ticket," Martin said.

One Bull is responsible for NBA mania around town.

"Michael Jordan," said Ryan Taylor, an incoming KU freshman from Prairie Village. Taylor set his alarm for 4 a.m. Monday, marked his spot in line just after 5 a.m. and purchased 10 tickets for $400 about eight hours later.

"I'd pay to see the Bulls, but I wouldn't stand in line eight hours if Jordan wasn't on the team. I can say I saw the greatest basketball player who ever lived play in the best building for basketball," Taylor added.

Frank Smysor of Lawrence arrived at 8 a.m. armed with enough money to buy four tickets for his family and 10 tickets for three other families.

"I thought it'd take a couple hours max," said Smysor, who finally reached the ticket window about 3:30 p.m. "I haven't been in a line this long since Disney World.

"I didn't do this for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1964," he quipped, noting that concert also was a sellout at Allen Fieldhouse.

Several individuals in line were upset at the presence of scalpers.

"Two mothers who camped out with their young sons were extremely irritated with how some of the ticket brokers were working," KU sports information director Dean Buchan said. "Some of the brokers would go to the back of the line and try to sell tickets for twice what they paid. The mothers planned to buy a handful of tickets, but bought 20 each. They looked for parents with small kids. If they saw a scalper trying to solicit a family, they'd go over there and sell the family the tickets at cost. They were foiling the scalpers. It was a nice gesture on their part."

Buchan and other KU officials updated fans on ticket availability and location throughout the day.

"For the most part the people were extremely patient," Buchan said. "The ticket office did a great job of being prepared. Unfortunately, we physically are not capable of processing 10,000 tickets in a couple of hours."

KU has just two ticket printers.

"We've never had a situation like this before. Every Kansas basketball game is sold out. We never put more than 1,000 or so general admission tickets on sale. We rarely have a one-day event like this," Buchan noted.

Hoping to leave the line as quickly as possible, some fans tried to phone the ticket office with their cellular phones.

"There must have been 100 cell phones in line," Buchan said, hearing one fan's complaint that his cell phone battery went dead just after the connection was made after an hour's worth of busy signals.

Armed with 10 tickets, one inquisitive buyer asked KU sports information official Scott Mowery for a tour of the fieldhouse.

"Two of his seats were behind a rail. They were definitely (Bob) Uecker seats," Mowery said, referring to the worst seats in the house. "He had some good seats, too. He said he'd sell the ones behind the rail."

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