The 3 hour queue for Varsity tickets could well be a thing of the past – last Thursday saw Swansea Student Events sell tickets for the hotly anticipated event online for the very first time. While handy for those of us unable to get to Fulton House that day, the sale wasn’t without its bumps… Elena Cresci went and found out what went wrong and why…

Varsity is without a doubt my student event of the year. You can’t beat a bit of old school rivalry, and there’s nothing like banding with your fellow Swansea students for a round of ‘I’m Swansea ‘til I die!’ over a Strongbow or two. I must say I was green-eyed with jealousy at those who got to experience Varsity in Swansea last year; being in Germany, I unfortunately missed out on Swansea winning the cup on home turf. No matter, because this year promises a bigger and better Varsity, with the rugby match held in none other than the legendary Millennium Stadium. I for one can’t wait to hijack the pubs of Cardiff with a sea of green and white.

I’m not the only one excited for the event. Over 3,000 tickets were sold on Thursday, meaning that, according to sources at Swansea Student Events, the Welsh Varsity is set to be the biggest University sporting event in the UK this year; even bigger than Oxford and Cambridge’s Varsity. While there is no doubt that Varsity is set to be on a larger scale than ever seen before this year, the first ever online sale of the tickets was plagued by technological gremlins as the site faced considerable downtime.

For Civil Engineering student Jason Owen, the sale of Varsity tickets online represented an easier way than the traditional queuing method. “I logged onto the website at 11:15, and it pretty much instantly crashed. Like everyone else in Swansea, I tried refreshing the page until I got through. I wasn’t alone, all my mates in Engineering were doing the same. I finally managed to put 4 tickets into the basket and get through the payment screen, then I was shocked to see the next web page load up as ‘Website Offline’.” As no confirmation email reached his inbox, Jason was unsure whether he had been successful in purchasing tickets.

“So I ordered 4 more tickets, this time it went through successfully after nearly 2 hours of trying and I got the confirmation. 24 hours later I got my original confirmation, so now I have 8 tickets for Varsity, and have paid £184. Now I’ve got the hassle of selling 4 tickets on, or trying to get a refund.” Simon Bright of Swansea Student Events assured The Siren that they are doing everything possible to help students who faced problems buying tickets on Thursday.

“For anyone with problems, firstly Student Swansea Events would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused. It was a minority of people who were affected, but we take all of your concerns seriously. It is obviously regrettable that this occurred but be assured that your problems will be resolved as soon as possible. Email Russell Wade – russellwade@swansea-union.co.uk – with any problems. He will endeavour to resolve [them] as quickly as possible.”

With the online option far more popular, the servers, run by a company called BAM, were unable to cope with the huge demands. Simon pointed out that this is a problem which often faces high profile events. “Although I realise the events are not entirely comparable, server problems regularly affect online sales of events such as Take That’s recent tour, Michael Jackson’s last tour, Glastonbury and Live Aid. [While] it is unfortunate, it is something that is a fact of life with online sales for extremely popular events.”

Do you have your tickets for the big showdown? Did you end up with more than you wanted, or was it all plain sailing? Leave us a comment!

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