Ticketmaster expected 1.5 million 'verified' Taylor Swift fans on the site but 14 million people were trying to get tickets, Live Nation chairman says: 'We could have filled 900 stadiums'

Ticketmaster expected 1.5 million 'verified' Taylor Swift fans on the site but 14 million people were trying to get tickets, Live Nation chairman says: 'We could have filled 900 stadiums'
Taylor Swift Midnights artwork.Beth Garrabrant
  • Ticketmaster was only supposed to be opened to 1.5 million "verified" Taylor Swift fans for presale.
  • Live Nation's chairman said 14 million people tried to get tickets, and could've filled 900 stadiums.

Ticketmaster's presale for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour on Tuesday was only supposed to be open to 1.5 million "verified" fans, but 14 million people tried to buy tickets on the day, Live Nation's chairman told CNBC's Squawk on the Street.

"Despite all the challenges and the breakdowns, we did sell over 2 million tickets that day," Live Nation's Greg Maffei said. "We could've filled 900 stadiums."

Ticketmaster says its Verified Fan program is intended to "create a safe and reliable ticket-buying experience" for fans of different artist and teams, and to "level the playing field so that more tickets go to fans who intend to go to the show — and not to ticket bots." People register to be a "verified fan," and if they are selected, they receive an access code the night before presale opens that they can use to purchase tickets.

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However, among the 14 million fans were bots, "which are not supposed to be there," Maffei said.

"All the Live Nation team is sympathetic that the long wait times and fans who couldn't get what they wanted," Maffei said. "Reality is, it's a function of the massive demand that Taylor Swift has."


Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Ticketmaster, accusing the company of monopolizing the ticket selling industry after website crashes were reported during presale on Tuesday. Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010 to form Live Nation Entertainment. Maffei, its chairman, is also the CEO of Liberty Media that owns over 30% of Live Nation.

"Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it's merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Break them up."

Maffei, in response to Ocasio-Cortez's calls for the company to be broken up, said that Swift's concert is not promoted by Live Nation, but by its competitor AEG Presents.

"Though AOC may not like every element of our business, interestingly, AEG, our competitor who is the promoter for Taylor Swift, chose to use us because we are, in reality, the largest and most effective ticket seller in the world."

Maffei said Ticketmaster attempted to build "capacity for peak demand," but Swift's ticket sales "exceeded every expectation." He also said Swift's absence from touring since reputation Tour in 2018 "caused a huge issue."


Amid customer complaints during the first two days of ticket presales, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he's looking into consumer complaints from upset fans.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain also took a dig at Ticketmaster on Tuesday by pointing out that the application for student loan forgiveness processed 8 million applications in the first 30 hours of its launch without crashing.

General public sales for the Eras Tour open Friday at 10 a.m., local venue time.