Reunited boy band Take That cripples U.K. ticketing market

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Robbie Williams wasn’t able to break the U.S. market, but he can certainly wreak some havoc with Ticketmaster’s U.K. website. Now back in the boy band in which he got his start, tickets for a Williams-boosted Take That tour of the U.K. and Ireland went on sale Friday, and immediate site crashes led to Ticketmaster releasing a statement apologizing for the agitating fan experience.

‘We have undoubtedly seen an unparalleled level of demand today and whilst hundreds and thousands of tickets have been sold we know that many of our consumers have experienced frustrating delays in securing their tickets,’ said the company in a statement posted on the Take That website. The site of promoter SJM Concerts, which is also selling tickets, is still experiencing slow loads, and the company announced that more than 1 million Take That tickets had already been sold.

For some perspective as to the furor that was caused by the demand for a Take That seat, Ticketmaster noted that the initial rush to its site outpaced the one that greeted the King of Pop last year. ‘Across the day Ticketmaster alone has so far received over 20m page views from visitors arriving on the site, far in excess of that experienced for Michael Jackson last March,’ the company stated, referencing what would have Jackson’s comeback ‘This Is It’ residency at London’s O2 Arena. ‘The sheer volume of fans also created problems for the U.K. telephone network.’

Take That has been adding dates throughout the day to fulfill demand for the spring tour, which now includes more than 25 dates throughout the U.K. and Ireland. The Take That site lists multiple dates for which tickets are still available, but fans are reporting headaches. The concerts all went on sale simultaneously, and fans have reported upward of five-hour waits to go through one of the sites offering tickets, which includes Ticketmaster, SJM Concerts’ Gigs & Tours site and Ticketline.


The Take That site is flooded with comments from panicked fans. ‘Help!’ wrote one. ‘I have got as far as logging in my card details now three times and I was already logged in to ticketline when the site went down! I am so frustrated! I booked a day off work and have spent all day ringing two phones and trying to get online! Aaarrghh!’

Tickets started at about £60.00 ($96) but VIP packages were starting at £229 ($366). Hotel packages are being sold via Ticketweb, although Pop & Hiss was unable to get through to the site to check prices. Meanwhile, tickets are available on secondary sites such as Seatwave, and going for as much as £999.99 ($1601.78).

The tour is Take That’s first with Williams in 16 years. A new album, ‘Progress,’ is due in mid-November.

--Todd Martens

Video: Take That’s 1993 chart-topping single ‘Pray.’