Back on November 11, it was still unclear whether or not Kobe Bryant was going to retire at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season. He had averaged 16.5 points through the Lakers’ first six games of the season, but his team was just 1-5 and Kobe didn’t look like he was having very much fun. Just one week later, we published a piece asking him to seriously consider retiring right then and there rather than waiting until the end of the season or, worse, trying to play beyond this season.
Diehard Lakers/Kobe fan Jesse Sandler could see the writing on the wall and decided to gamble on the fact that Kobe was probably going to retire at the end of this season. So he jumped on StubHub, purchased four tickets to the Lakers’ final game of the season against the Jazz on April 13, and paid $906.77 for them. It ended up being a solid investment. Just 18 days later, Kobe announced that this season would be his final season in the NBA—and Sandler beat the mad rush to buy up all the tickets for Kobe’s remaining games. Tickets for Kobe’s final home game against Utah jumped from $195 per ticket to a staggering $1500 per ticket and, while some of his friends and family told him that he should sell the tickets to the game, he fully intended on using them to see Kobe one last time.
At least, that was the plan. Sandler just wrote a long piece for the website TheLead detailing how, on December 15, he received an email from StubHub notifying him that his tickets were “listed incorrectly” and that his order was being canceled right away.
“Comparable tickets were not available,” StubHub wrote in their initial email to him. “Your original tickets were listed below market value at $195.89, and other similar tickets are listed for well over $1,490.00.”
StubHub offered Sandler a $100 coupon and, while he protested the decision during a series of back-and-forth emails with StubHub, Sandler was unable to buy back the tickets he had originally purchased on November 11 or convince StubHub to give him replacement tickets. StubHub did eventually agree to give him about $250 worth of credits towards his account in addition to the original $906.77 that he had spent. But after speaking with several StubHub employees, he was told that the seller had backed out of the deal because of the sudden spike in price associated with his tickets and that there was nothing else they could do. The company does charge sellers 20 percent of the original sales price when sellers back out of ticket deals, but in this case, the seller would benefit from taking the 20 percent hit in order to sell the tickets to someone willing to pay more than $1500 per ticket. So it sounds like that’s exactly what he or she did.
As a result of all this, Sandler got screwed out of the chance to see Kobe play in his last game, and he was very upset with StubHub, which prompted him to write his piece for TheLead. But fortunately for him, it doesn't look like the story is going to end there.
Shortly after Sandler posted his story, it ended up on Reddit where it immediately caught the attention of many Redditors.
“This is beyond [expletive] up,” the top comment on the post reads. “Does StubHub not understand that they [expletive] up a Laker fan’s last chance to see Kobe live…LET’S TAKE THIS TO THE FRONT PAGE, [EXPLETIVE] STUBHUB.” The post currently has more than 800 comments on it and has been upvoted more than 5000 times.
In addition to receiving attention from Reddit, an executive for a company called Tickets For Less also read Sandler’s story and left him a comment on it indicating that he would be willing to hook him up with four tickets to Kobe’s last home game.
And after coming across Sandler’s piece, we reached out to StubHub directly to confirm the legitimacy of Sandler’s story and to see if they have any plans to help him find tickets to the game. They told us that they haven't been able to reach him yet, but that they plan on rectifying the situation as soon as possible in light of the attention the story has received.
“We are currently trying to reach this customer to make the situation right,” a StubHub spokesperson told us. “This was a poor experience for Jesse, and we will do everything we can to get him into this game. As a marketplace that oversees thousands of transactions a day, buyer and seller errors and discrepancies can occur. However, every customer is protected by our Fan Protect Guarantee so we will do everything in our power to make this situation right.”
Stay tuned to see how this story ends. Regardless of how it turns out, Kobe’s last game is going to be memorable for Sandler for more than just the obvious reasons.
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[via The Lead Sports]