Canes-Rangers Hockey Game Tickets Limited to NC Area Buyers
Tickets for the upcoming playoff games between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers at the PNC Arena are limited to buyers from North Carolina, South Carolina and Southern Virginia.
And some New Yorkers aren’t happy about it.
The official Cannes website directs buyers to the Ticketmaster entertainment marketplace for ticket sales. In the upper right corner of the screen, a notice warns buyers of a restricted sales area: only those with a billing address in the Carolinas or southern Virginia will be able to order tickets.
Anyone with an address outside of the restricted sales area may be able to purchase tickets, only to have their orders canceled and refunded.
“To better serve the fans”
New York sports outlet SNY reported the restricted sales on Monday, saying the geo-blocking was “an (Carolina Hurricanes) effort to keep Rangers fans out of their building for the second round of the playoffs.” .
Mark Sundheim, a spokesman for Canes, told The News & Observer in an email that geo-blocking was not unusual.
“It’s an extremely common practice in professional sports. […] to reduce off-market scalping and prioritize their home areas for the primary market,” he said. “Especially when it comes to the most sought-after tickets like playoffs and premium seats.”
Sundheim then pointed to New York in his email.
He shared a screenshot of a similar restriction notice on a Ticketmaster page for an upcoming New York Yankees game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The notice warns page visitors that tickets will be limited to purchasers with billing addresses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
“There are no restrictions on fans of other teams attending our games or wearing their shirts,” Sundheim said.
The notice on Ticketmaster states that the restricted sales area is in place “to better serve Carolina Hurricanes fans” and notes that “PNC Arena is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.”
Another NHL team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, also limited sales in 2018, according to The Washington Post. The team banned buyers without a Florida zip code in their billing addresses from purchasing tickets for playoff games against the Washington Capitals hosted in Tampa.
The Los Angeles Rams also restricted sales to certain areas for last season’s NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, a rule they later changed.
Teams can regulate initial ticket sales, but often cannot regulate secondary markets. So buyers in the restricted area can resell their tickets on marketplaces like Vivid Seats or StubHub if they can’t go anymore or if they’re trying to make some extra cash. Fans outside the geo-blocked area can purchase tickets from these sites, but must pay more than the original price due to scalping and additional fees.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, the cheapest single ticket price for the first round game of the second round on Ticketmaster was $95 before taxes and fees. This ticket was on the top row of section 318.
The most expensive Ticketmaster tickets were a pair of lower-tier front row seats on resale for $1,250 each before taxes and fees.
Tickets for the Canes-Rangers playoff games at Madison Square Garden in New York City have no restrictions.
2nd round of the playoffs
The Hurricanes-Rangers second-round series begins Wednesday at the PNC Arena. Game 1 is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and will air exclusively on ESPN and its family of networks and apps.
For a full schedule and stats, read here.
This story was originally published May 17, 2022 2:28 p.m.