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After a Ticketmaster snafu, Mexico's president asks Bad Bunny to hold a free concert

Bad Bunny, pictured performing on stage in Philadelphia in September, finished his international tour in Mexico City last weekend — but many fans were denied entry after being told their tickets were illegitimate.
Theo Wargo
Getty Images for Roc Nation
Bad Bunny, pictured performing on stage in Philadelphia in September, finished his international tour in Mexico City last weekend — but many fans were denied entry after being told their tickets were illegitimate.

Mexico's president is hoping Bad Bunny can save the day after another Ticketmaster snafu shut hundreds of ticket-holding fans out of his concerts last weekend.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is calling on the Puerto Rican reggaeton star to perform for free in Mexico City's Zócalo square, saying in his daily briefing Wednesday that the government could pay for the lights, stage and sound system — and even install a zip line in the central plaza.

López Obrador acknowledged that Bad Bunny — who just closed his international tour in Mexico and plans to take a break in 2023 — is "overworked and tired," but suggested he might consider the request because he is a "supportive" and "sensitive" person, according to the Guardian.

"It made us very emotional to see sad young people who couldn't enter because their tickets were cloned, because they were cheated, some crying," the president added. "They saved for a long time to be able to buy their tickets."

Bad Bunny has not commented publicly on the ticket debacle or the president's request. NPR has reached out to the singer's team for comment.

Some 80,000 fans attended the last two shows of his "World's Hottest Tour" in Mexico City's Estadio Azteca — the largest stadium in Latin America — last Friday and Saturday. But hundreds of others were denied entry to the venue after being told the tickets they had purchased through Ticketmaster were not valid.

A total of 1,600 faulty tickets were reported on the first night, and 110 on the second, according to Profeco, Mexico's consumer watchdog agency.

Estadio Azteca said on Friday that it had canceled some fans' access for safety reasons after Ticketmaster Mexico "detected cases of duplication and/or falsification of tickets," NBC News reported.

Mexican regulators allege the issue is due to Ticketmaster overselling tickets and is seeking to hold the company accountable through fines and refunds.

Profeco head Ricardo Sheffield told local media over the weekend that an investigation found that many tickets dubbed false had actually been purchased through legitimate channels.

"Ticketmaster claimed they were counterfeit, but they were all issued by them," he said, according to Billboard.

Sheffield said that Ticketmaster Mexico owes all affected fans a full refund plus a 20% compensation fee. It could be fined as much as 10% of its total sales in 2021.

"As we are a fiscal authority, if they don't want to pay of their own will, we will seize their accounts then, and they will pay because they have to," Sheffield added.

Ticketmaster Mexico denied claims of overcrowding or overselling in a statement posted in Spanish on Twitter, in which it said that more than 4.5 million people had registered for 120,000 total tickets.

"On Friday, an unprecedented number of false tickets, not bought through our official channels, were presented at the gates," the company said, according to an AP translation, adding that entrances caused "temporary interruptions in the ticket reading system, which unfortunately momentarily impeded recognition of legitimate tickets."

The company also apologized to affected ticket holders and has agreed to pay them the refund and compensation fee, NBC News reports. Meanwhile, Sheffield says his office has gotten enough consumer complaints that it is gearing up to file a class-action lawsuit.

That would be the second such lawsuit against the ticketing giant: Taylor Swift fans filed suit earlier this month accusing Ticketmaster and its parent company of fraud and antitrust violations after its botched Eras Tour ticket sales.

The U.S. Justice Department had reportedly opened an antitrust investigation into the company even before the Swift snafu, which in turn prompted many Democratic lawmakers to call for regulation and several state attorneys general to launch consumer protection probes.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.