60,000 tickets were snapped up in just over an hour today for the hotly anticipated rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves. However, many fans were left empty handed and disappointed after problems with the ticket vendor website.
The public and media interest in this fight has been at fever pitch for this battle of Britain after the controversial ending to their first bout. Together, with the genuine animosity between the two boxers, Wembley Stadium was selected for the rematch. With a total capacity of 90,000, an initial 60,000 tickets were made available for the fight. Whilst Promoter Eddie Hearn was unsure of the demand for tickets, staging the fight at the national stadium demonstrated confidence that demand would be extremely high.
See Ticket web performance – The Text Check
See Tickets were the exclusive ticketing outlet for the fight. We have reported about their previous website struggles with big ticket sales; such as One Direction's world tour. With this in mind, we were intrigued to see how it would cope with the onrush of boxing fans and monitored their site to see how it performed upon release of the tickets.
I visited the ticket sales page regularly throughout the morning and all appeared well. The page responded fairly quickly and our monitoring tool -which samples at five minute intervals, showed that the average page response time was 2.83s. However, when the tickets were released (at noon) neither the monitoring tool or I could access the page. The tool performs a simple text check to verify that it is assessing the correct page. As shown below, our tool was unable to find the text that was previously on the page. Put simply, the page had changed.
The Queue and waterfall charts
The moment tickets went on sale both the tool and I were placed in a queue and I believe this is the reason the text check failed. This thought it backed up by the page waterfall charts. The chart on the left (image 1) is the makeup of all the elements of the page prior to release of tickets whilst on the one on the right (Image 2) is at 12.00 when text check failed and the period we went into the queue. As you can see the page on the left is made up of plenty more elements when compared to the one on the right.
When in the queue I also lost complete contact with website as it appeared to crash under the load. Looking on social media, many people experienced the same problem, whilst it was reported in the national press that the website crashed. Our tool then fluctuated between making contact with ticket page and then being placed back into the queue. When I was finally able to purchase, only single tickets in the cheapest seats were available.
It’s since been announced that 60,000 tickets sold out in just over an hour with approximately 12,750 transactions occurring during this period. Hearn has also stated that 100,000 tickets for the event could have been sold. One would presume the site was load tested before the sale but it’s still a shame that problems with the site have hindered fans opportunities to buy their preferred seats. 20,000 more tickets may be released for those who missed out, but as we have previously discussed, a large amount of load was expected on the site; could it have been better prepared?