On Wednesday, sports website The Lead published an article detailing the sketchy process through which StubHub had taken back already purchased tickets to Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game from a Lakers fan.
The story quickly caught fire on the Internet, and left the ticket website scrambling to do damage control, cracking jokes and making promises to right its wrong. StubHub began its very public apology where all things start now: Twitter.
The apology was necessary considering the absurdity of the original situation. LA loyalist Jesse Sandler had purchased tickets to the Purple and Gold’s last regular season contest (on April 13, against the Utah Jazz) a few weeks before Bryant announced his decision, paying $195 for his individual ticket.
But as soon as Kobe wrote that now-famous retirement ode, ticket prices shot up, so much so that fans are now paying around $500 apiece for upper-level seats. Sandler’s own seat was all of a sudden worth around $1,500 -- a roughly 670 percent spike from that original StubHub price.
This is where everything went wrong. Two weeks after Bryant’s announcement, StubHub emailed Sandler, canceling his order as his “original tickets were listed below market value.” Well duh, that’s how commerce works -- you buy things when you think you’re getting them at a good price, oftentimes with the assumption that the market price will change.
StubHub, here's a Kobe face. You know you deserve it.
Cue a ton of (justifiably) livid back-and-forth emails and phone calls, as Sandler tried to figure out exactly what the hell had just happened. Yet until the article was published, the site showed no signs of budging from its position.
As tales like this are wont to do, Sandler's saga went viral. And once faced with a publicity nightmare, StubHub bit its tongue, bowed its head and vowed to make the situation right.
It's funny how nice companies are when you write an article about them that goes viral, huh?
Also on HuffPost: