File this one under #winningproblems.
Thousands of frustrated Carolina Panthers fans battled technology Friday in hopes of scoring tickets to Fan Fest on Aug. 5. In seven hours, all 60,000 freebies were gone.
Ticketmaster servers became overloaded as soon as tickets were made available at 10 a.m. Throughout the day, the site incorrectly told many fans the event was already sold out. Many of the lucky ones who weren't shown that screen had to sit through long wait times.
"We are incredibly thankful for our fans’ passionate support and their interest in attending Fan Fest," said Phil Youtsey, executive director of ticketing and sponsorship. "Our intent all along was to keep this event available and open to the public as in years past. We apologize for any difficulties that were encountered during the ticket acquisition process.
"Due to the overwhelming demand the ticket system was put under extreme stress and orders were processed slower than usual. We’ll continue to look for ways to improve going forward."
A record 55,000 fans showed up to last year's free practice, somewhat overwhelming Bank of America Stadium staff. Following a Super Bowl run, the Panthers figured this year's demand would be even higher, so they implemented a ticket system. Fans who navigated that were allowed to reserve up to six tickets.
If you're wondering why only 60,000 tickets were allotted for a 75,000-seats stadium, it's because the upper level of the end zones will be blocked off for Fan Fest's fireworks show.