U2 BC Place Fail – Your Logistics Fail Broken Down

Dear BC Place,

Stop blaming others for your obvious logistics fail for the U2 concert on Friday night! Have you even done the math?  Your logistics plan for moving people through your gates on Friday night was utterly flawed and doomed before it even started.

I’ve had a few head scratching moments as I really thought about this for you….I hope you’re thinking about this too!  I’d like to highlight the most notable fails for you so you can think about how this could be avoided in the future:

Fail # 1 – Know your audience! Have you met the people of Vancouver??  When was the last time anyone showed up 2 hours early for an opening band? Regardless, you can’t bare that entire burden, so I’m going to cut you some mega slack there for when I do my math a little bit later in this piece.  This is not the airport and this is not an International trip.  No one thinks they need to be at a show 2-3 hours before it starts. NO.ONE.

Fail #2 – Have you even heard of Mumford and Sons?  Yeah, they’re kinda a big deal and chances are that most of your ticket holders intended on seeing them.  Too bad so few of them got the chance.  Had you thought about this, you would have known that you needed to anticipate on moving MOST of your ticket holders through before they even hit the stage.  Logistics Hot Tip: If you want to increase revenues, get them through well in advance of hitting the stage so that they have time to purchase your overpriced food and alcohol.

Fail # 3 – The number of access points into the building MADE NO SENSE and no one knew where to go when they got there.  Stop blaming the credit card system for the hold up.  Even if you allege it did slow things down, why didn’t you think about this possibility when developing your event plan for what is undoubtedly the hottest ticket that will hit Vancouver in 2017!  From what I experienced, scanning a hard copy ticket took no more time than it took to scan my credit card.  Where you failed was in the number of access points you provided for entry. Plain and Simple.  Also, please stop blaming U2 for wanting credit card entry for their fans. You should have thought about this harder….alot harder.

Fail # 4 – Congratulations for making our city look so stupid.  Not only has this received coverage around the world as an epic logistics fail, but there were ALOT of people from different parts of the world, who chose our city to see the band. Like they’ll ever choose to come back for anything like this again.

Fail # 5 – You have not yet taken any accountability for your role in this disaster.  Step.Up.

Now I’m going to do some math for you to help you see what you are failing to acknowledge. Here are the facts I used to support my math:

  • A spokesperson for BC Place has been quoted here as saying that 40000 people bought tickets to the show.
  • This same spokesperson also cites that 1/3rd of these tickets were sold as General Admission floor seats (approx 13,333 people)
  • BC Place allocated one gate for General Admission tickets.  I eventually made it there and within this one gate, there were 12 access points to get people filtered through.  It took me 20 seconds to get through security and credit card scan.  It then took another 10 seconds or so for another person to put an access bracelet around my wrist.
  • BC Place allocated four gates for reserved seating ticket holders.  I know that one of these was dedicated to reserved seat holder credit card access only.  I learned this the hard way when I waited 30 minutes to get to the front of the gate listed “Credit Card Access Only” only to be rejected at the door because this excluded general admission.  Next time, please put that on the one sign you have available to direct people.  Even your ticket agent acknowledged how misleading that was.  Further, while at this gate, there were two people scanning tickets.  TWO.

Now, I’ve tried to ensure I use as much factual information as possible while doing my math, but I do need to make some assumptions too:

  • Despite the fact that the opening band are in themselves MASSIVE, I suppose not everyone will want to see them, so I’m going to do my math under the assumption that only 80% of ticket holders would want to be in the building by the time they go on stage.  **BC Place, I’m really trying to do you a favour on this one because I truly believe that 80% is a serious under valuation here.
  • As doors opened at 5:30 and M&Sons went on at 7:30, then this would mean that you should probably plan to get approx 32000 people into the building in 2 hours (10667 people at the General Admission lineup and 21600 in the remaining access points).
  • Considering the time it takes to do bag check, pat downs and ticket/credit card scans, I’m going to say that in perfect circumstances, it probably takes 20 seconds for a person to be processed in the reserved seat holder lineup.  In the GA lineup, it took 30 seconds as I mentioned earlier.  Because I want to help you here, I’m going to reduce entry time to 15 seconds for each person who didn’t need a bracelet and 20 seconds for those that did.  I’m being kind here.


  • GA Holders: You should estimate to process 3 people\minute per ticket agent
  • Reserved Seat Holders: You should estimate to process 4 people\minute per ticket agent
  • Therefore, in 2 hours, one ticket agent could probably grant access to 480 reserved seat holders and 360 general admission ticket holders.

So, if you know you potentially need to process 10667 people in the GA lineup in 2 hours, WHY DID YOU ONLY HAVE 12 ACCESS POINTS, AT ONE GATE? 360 people x 12 access points = 4320 entrants in that 2 hour period.  And this is assuming that people decided to show up 2 hours early.  Even if you thought you’d get 100% of people through in 3 hours, you’d still only move 6480 people with that plan. You know what happens when you can’t get people through fast enough…A collossal overspillage of people. Where do you think the remaining 4187 are going to peacefully congregate while they wait their turn? Do you think they are going to create a single file lineup in a sea of other people who are over spilling from your other limited access points and who have also not chosen to create an undirected single file lineup? The answer to that is no.

Ok, so let’s do the math for the remaining 22000 people who want to get in before 7:30pm.  I was able to observe that 1 of your 4 remaining gates had 2 ticket agents.  While I did walk most of the immediate perimeter of the concourse, I didn’t see exactly how many ticket agents you had at the remaining 3 gates.  So, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume that there were 4 per gate. So, in total, let’s “pretend” like you had 14 ticket agents ready and waiting to grant access to those 22000 people in 2 hours….because everyone shows up to a show 2 hours early, remember! 480 people x 14 access points = 6720 people.  Ok, now I just feel bad for you because you can’t have so grossly underestimated the number of people needed to grant access.  Ok, I’ll up it to 20 access points.  480 people x 20 = 9600 people.  I really need to stop doing the math here because I am feeling pretty confident that you did not have that many ticket agents.  Do you know where 12400 people are going to peacefully congregate while they wait their turn? Oh yeah, they create a human barrier for the 4187 people trying to find their unclear access point for the general admission lineup.

People were annoyed, frustrated, confused.  Most of these people were not people who showed up at the last minute either.  Twitter blew up at 6:30.  I was there at 6:30 and I could see the carnage. In what world do you think that people will really show up to a show more than 1 hour before the starting band?  Where is this world, do they also show up to work on time? That would be cool.  Anyways, I am proud that these people remained undeniably Canadian during this time and if anything it turned into a bonding experience as people lamented with each other about how ridiculous this all was.

So, I leave you with this math so that you can recognize that this had way more to do with your plan than your allegations of unanticipated challenges with a new credit card system (which actually wasn’t even applicable to all in attendance).  I would also like for you to perhaps consider what you would do if your backend system went down in a world where credit card access now exists.  My credit card was my only proof that I purchased my right to be in there.  What would you do if you couldn’t verify that? LET THAT SINK IN.

Beyond all this, U2 was incredible.  I have no doubt that Mumford and Sons were great too.  I hope they are aware that Vancouver wanted to see them and that the low attendance for their set had nothing to do with lack of interest.

Thanks BC Place, I hope you re-evaluate your logistics plan and learn from this experience.

The Fans

#BCPlaceFail #Vancouver #JoshuaTreeTour2017 #U2 #BCPlace

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