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Discussion Starter #1
As some of you guys will know, I was at La Catedral for Athletic-Valencia on Sunday 10th March. I enjoyed my first visit to Euskadi very much (visited Vitoria, Laguardia and Donostia and the Puente Bizkaia, Guggenheim and Athletic museums in Bilbao). But I found the stadium ticket system quite stressful, so I will tell you what happened and hopefully someone can explain what I did wrong or how it is supposed to work.

On the Friday lunchtime we went to San Mames and got the stadium tour, very good value, €7 along with the museum. The museum was closing for the afternoon (of course :) ) so we were told to come back at 5pm for the museum. I asked about tickets and was told they would be selling some at that point.

So we went to the Guggenheim and came back on Tranvia, went to the museum which is a bit small, hopefully it will be bigger in the new stadium, but the animated video about the evolution of the stadium was good. At that time the staff said the queue outside for tickets was just for socios and the public sale was the next morning, but since we were already there we decided to stand for a bit and take our chance. After 15 minutes when the line had hardly moved (due to there being only 3 sales windows open out of 12), I went to the front to ask in my very very limited Spanish if it was definitely just socios for this queue. The staff member confirmed this, but one older guy noticed I was a foreigner and tried to get a ticket on my behalf, which was refused. The only part of the conversation I understood was 'one ticket per person'.

This then collapsed into a shouting match like this :cecco: between the man and the ticket guy which went on for a full 10 minutes and ended up involving other people who had to calm this guy down while I stood nearby wondering what the hell was going on :confused: . I'm not even sure if this was about trying to help me or about some other issue he had, the only thing I know how to say (wrongly!) was that I would come back tomorrow and not to worry but this had no effect so maybe it was about something else. In any case, I would actually have needed 2 tickets (my wife was with me but was keeping our place in the line!). So we gave up at that point, and had been told that the public sale would be at 10:30 on the Saturday and we should arrive early as it would 'sometimes be luck' to get any tickets at all.

We got very drunk in Casco Viejo on the Friday night! But we were still back at the stadium at 10:00 the next morning, at which time there was already a line of maybe 300 (from the ticket office corner around to the museum corner). By the time the line started to move at 10:40, it had grown behind us to probably another 300 people. I was worried that there would maybe be no tickets, but since these people had turned up late and didn't look bothered, surely it would be OK?

Again, there were only 3 ticket windows open despite the amount of people waiting. We got to the window at 11:45 and I was told that the only tickets left were for the north-west corner, would cost €70 each and there were no 2 seats together. :eekani: The ticket guy managed to get 2 seats across a stair which was OK, and since we were in Bilbao to go to the game I paid the money. But I would point out that €70 is considerably more than I paid for a UEFA Cup final ticket in 2007 and double what I paid in 2012 to watch the team that won the league in England against the team that finished 4th (Man City-Spurs). So not what I would call great value. Also we would have had the sun right in our faces if it had been sunny during the game but we got a bit lucky as it was cloudy on the Sunday.

I don't think I personally (as an idiot foreign tourist) was being ripped off as the man in line before me, who had also waited 90 minutes in the queue, walked off in disgust with no tickets, again my Spanish lets me down but its very likely that he wasn't prepared to pay so much money for seats which turned out to be nice but would not be considered top of the range.

I have no clue what happened to the many people who were still in the line behind us, most of them probably got absolutely nothing after waiting for 2+ hours. To me, this is an unacceptable way to deal with supporters, although I would add that this gave me even more admiration for the supporters of Athletic if they are prepared to put up with such poor service and take time out of their weekend to go to the stadium and attempt to get their hands on match tickets. As I described earlier, it was not only the public sale on the Saturday morning which had this line, the socios on the Friday evening also had to give up their free time to attend at the stadium in person and wait in a queue.

It might be that I was doing it the wrong way trying to get tickets, but I don't really think so due to the amount of people who were doing the same as me, and most of them were not idiot tourists but locals (some of them wearing the full tracksuit to the ticket office, ha ha, is that really necessary?!). Everyone was very patient with waiting in line, even though some of them most have known that they were not going to get tickets. They also seemed very calm about the slowness of the line, which is something that could easily be solved by having 1 or 2 more windows open.

There should also be some sort of screen on the stadium wall to show people in the queue how many seats are left, in what area and at what price, so these questions do not have to be asked by every person at the window and saves time, and also means people can give up and leave the line if they know what the situation is going to be. It was also decent weather when we were there (sunny but windy) but there is no protection against bad weather for the people waiting. But I know that is not going to be improved now when the current stadium only has weeks to 'survive'.

I respect the members system that Athletic operates but I think the socios should be able to get their tickets by another method so they don't have to come all the way to San Mames on a Friday evening (maybe they can, e.g BBK, but then why were so many at the stadium?) and also think the socios priority should finish prior to 48 hours before the game so that the public sale is not all one mad rush on a Saturday morning.

I am very glad that I was able to get tickets for the Valencia match and I enjoyed the game itself a lot (although the facilities in the current stadium are minimal, the club can make money from selling decent food and drink inside instead of all the money going to the bars and cafeterias on Sabino Arana, Poza's, Urquijo, etc although they were also fun to visit!) but I would be hesitant to go again unless I knew there was a better system in place at the new stadium, since the Liga matches can get their kick-off times changed at short notice. For example, if the time of the Valencia game had been changed to Saturday, I presume the public sale would have been on the Friday morning and all the tickets would have been gone when we got there. Or what about a Friday evening game, when is the sale for them?? I have now seen a bit of the city of Bilbao, I would visit again but would be trying to focus on 2 days around the date of the game itself rather than staying for a long weekend, I don't want to have to book my transport to arrive on the Thursday morning in case the game is rescheduled for Saturday and I arrive too late to get a ticket, but also have to stay until the Monday in case it becomes the Sunday 22:00 game! I don't have the money for that!

I have to emphasise that every person I spoke to around the stadium was very helpful and I don't have a bad word to say about the city (other than the throwing stuff on the floor in bars, what's going on there?), the only part of our visit that was disappointing was the ticket process at Athletic Club. I hope that I made a mess of it in some way and normally it is a lot easier. I also hope the system will be a lot better at San Mames Barria – of course it will be a bigger stadium, so if there are 46,000 socios (what is the planned limit?) and 2000 away fans that would leave 5000 public tickets instead of the 1000 which are currently available. If there are more tickets and a better system to buy them, it will be better for the supporters who seem to have to go through a lot at present just to watch a normal league game.

There is this new thing called the Internet where people can buy and sell tickets? Even with the members priority system it must be possible?? I would also express my sympathies to the socios in advance of next season because it is going to be chaos. To anyone from abroad planning to attend an Athletic game in 2013-14, don't do it at that time. I would actually suggest probably avoiding 2014-15 as well in case there are any big problems. Everything* should be fine by 2015-16 (*unless Los Leones are in the Segunda by then?! :nervous:) so I think that is when I will return.


Sorry this post is very long, it just contains all the thoughts I had about this situation while I was in Bilbao and also after I have come home. I hope someone can find the time (20 minutes?!) to read this and post a wee reply if possible.


PS I will put some photos of my visit on Flickr and link to it if anyone is interested but they are nothing special!
 

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(as I'm pretty tired my English is horrible, hopefully you'll understand)

First of all thanks for putting your experiences down, it might help people in the future. :thumbsup:

What you should know first.

1. You're right, concerning tickets sales Athletic is living in the past.
2. It's not just that, they're ridiculously bad in terms of communicating.
3. It's not just you experiencing troubles concerning ticket sales, it's everyone, locals, tourists, everyone.
4. Spanish ticket prices (in general) are crazy, I think only England is comparable or worse. Recently there is an debate going on in Spain about this topic.

Then...
Ahead of the game you visited, ticket sales through BBK-machines was not possible for some (technical?) reason, that might declare the huge queues. That's just bad luck you got.
Don't know about sales being held only to socios, but make sure you know all selling times are published on the official website a few days before the sales start, just as to who they sell at which time. That's always something I write down before I travel.

I think normally (correct me if I'm wrong, anyone) there's not much tickets left for general sale. There's 30000+ season ticket holders. Then there's a lot of peña's (small fanclubs) based in any part of the Basque Country, Spain and even abroad. (Italy, Belgium etc) (list of peña's, sort out on top right). I think all peña's have got the right to apply for tickets for home and away matches, although I don't know what's exactly important in case who gets tickets and who doesn't. For sure though, is a part of the remaining tickets will go to the peña's.

Then, what's left, goes into general sale, don't know the exact amount, but I guess about 4000. Think Valencia is still a big 'name' who attract more people than average, with that the kickoff at noon is ok for everyone who doesn't live in Bilbao but who've got to work again on Monday. I mean, more people would stay away at kickoffs at Friday-eve, Sunday-eve or Monday.

About the lack of food sold in the stadium, that's not strange as everyone enters the stadiums with huge bocadillo's in their pockets :D.
About spitting on the floors on bars, that's just part of the culture :D.

Oh, and you're not ripped off, the price you paid is the normal value for that place in the stadium.

This post of me doesn't contain any kind of structure so if anything remains unclear feel free to ask :).

Despite this experience, hopefully you had a nice time in the Basque Country. :thumbsup:
 

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I experienced the same, I arrived at 10 in the Saturday morning to buy myself (as I was alone) a ticket and it took me until almost 12 until I got mine and mine had the price of 70 Euro as well.
But I was very happy to get a ticket because I was worried that they would have been sold out. Oh, and I have seen some people leaving the ticket sellers in disgust and having no ticket... but when I was holding my expensive ticket in my hands I was really relaxed. :)
Usually I paid 36 to 38 Euros... oh, and one time I paid 16 Euros :D a nice Socio helped me out then (and as I am always on my own, the 'only one ticket' policy did not harm me).

I really adore everything in Bilbao.. especially Athletic Club. :)
Well.. it did annoy me to wait in the queue... and the price was horrible for me.. but to attend Athletic's match was the highlife of my vacation.
And I will try to come to Bilbao as soon as possible... I wish I could live there, I am serious.. but I don't know how... to manage this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for replies as always!

Yeah I did try to use the BBK machines a few times but there was nothing mentioning Athletic at all. By this time we had already been to San Mames and been told that it was the only place to get the tickets, and it was easy to get back there on the tram/metro/bus/ walking if we had to (hotel was near Abando station).

Maybe that's why the Q was so long and why people were fine about it, because that particular problem isn't normal. The same as Lucie, I was happy enough to pay for the ticket and see the game and also see the stadium in its last year, and in fact I also feel very lucky now to have got the tickets as I didn't think it would be any problem beforehand. I would have been a VERY unhappy chappy to have stood in line and not got anything, after all that's the reason why we came all the way to Euskadi.

Like you, Knoert, I thought there would be about 3/4000 tickets for public sale but I think there were only about 1000 still available for this game. But I mainly feel sorry for the supporters who were not able to go but STILL had to wait in the line for hours, to me that is not fair, and if it is happening at many games it is really not fair to the great supporters of this great club.

Another suggestion, they could have had a staff member counting the queue and saying to people after a certain point "You definitely won't get a ticket, sorry" so they are not wasting their time?

I don't understand why the usual 100 or so white seats in the Preferencia areas you can see on TV were still free?

And I don't really understand why someone can be a member but doesn't have a season ticket? I know there are fans who have been going to the games for many seasons but maybe have lost their job this year so can't afford that, but they still want to be a member, but on the other hand there must also be many people who have been waiting to be a member for years and would also take the season ticket but cannot do so. And for public sale, OK, maybe better to have it in one place at one time, but making MEMBERS come to the stadium and queue for their tickets?? That's something from the 1980s!

I'm glad to know I didn't really do anything wrong in my attempts, but I was disappointed to find this problem and also sad to know now that such a basic part of a football club as selling match tickets to fans is such an continuing issue for a massive club like Athletic. Anyway, these are all issues which hopefully can be dealt with at the new stadium.

But I will be back to Bilbao, and next time I will be fully prepared and I hope it will not be as stressful!

PS I found mesedez, eskerrik asko and agur got a smile from the locals, particularly those who had already found out my Castilian Spanish was so poor! It's nice to be nice.

PPS Lucie, I feel the same a bit, I would love to move to Bilbao, but I work in an office and only know how to speak English so my 'skills' would be useless! What workers are needed in Euskadi and I could learn some new things? I don't think there are ANY jobs just now actually! So there's no way we could get into the ground for €70 tickets with no income!
 

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I was hoping to get to one last game in the old stadium, I had ruled out the Real Madrid and Barca games as I think it would be impossible to get tickets.
I was thinking about going to the Mallorca game, which is the last but one home game, but it sounds like it will be difficult to get a ticket. Have all the recent home games sold out?

Are there any plans to introduce an online ticketing system for the new stadium?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was hoping to get to one last game in the old stadium, I had ruled out the Real Madrid and Barca games as I think it would be impossible to get tickets.
I was thinking about going to the Mallorca game, which is the last but one home game, but it sounds like it will be difficult to get a ticket. Have all the recent home games sold out?

Are there any plans to introduce an online ticketing system for the new stadium?
Sorry nobody replied to you GG, as you will appreciate I don't have much knowledge about the Mallorca game, I imagine it was a sell-out but I did see it on TV and there were STILL those 100 seats in the corners and behind the goals, I'm sure you will agree when games are sold out in the UK there are NO free seats, if season-ticket holders can't go they sell their places either officially or unofficially! I don't think those areas were unsafe as there were still some folk in there, just not packed. Don't understand. Oh well, I dont suppose it really matters now!

Don't know about the new stadium arrangements either but hopefully at least when its busy the stadium will be 100% full and not 98%, then it will be more obvious to foreign fans like us which matches have actual free seats and we can plan our visit with confidence accordingly!
 

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Don't know if this is the right thread, but I am planning at trip to Bilbao (flight is booked) in early December. We have the last match in the CL on wednesday 10th December, and playing Cordoba at home 6th or 7th December.
I reckon it will be the 6th, but I understand it is the Spanish Constitution Day. Does that day matter, or will the match be played that Saturday, most probably?
I hope Eibar-Almeria will be played 7th of December...
 

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Hey guys.

I want Bilbao vs. Barca to be my first stadiumvisit in Spain.
I love Barca and I love the feeling/tradition of Bilbao and San Mames. Kinda magic for me. And the game has always been my favourite game of the year. You know it´s gonna be intense.
So I wanna watch this game, but getting (normal) tickets from Germany, where i live, is kinda impossible. Only ones I can buy, cost 200€.

Does anyone here know somebody (who knows somebody ;p) that can help me out?
 

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Tickets for non-socios will be extremely expensive compared to German standards. At least €100 you'll always pay.

It's worth checking out the internet ticket sales the week before the match but if you're a few days ahead of the game in Bilbao you probably can get them from the taquillas.
 

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I would gladly pay up to 150€ for the tickets.
Thats the limit for me.

And I cant come few days ahead cause I dont speak spanish and dont know shit. :D
I would need someone to get me the ticket so that we can meet before the game.

What happens if I fly few days ahead and there are no tickets?
 

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It's a big stadium. If you are willing to pay 150 euro, i believe you have good chances on the black market a couple of hours before the match.
Some tickets are available on the internet the week before the match. You can print them at home, if you are Lucky to get them...
 

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Today I bought myself a ticket for the match vs Elche at the BBK.
I wonder why they offer tickets via internet and BBK since today, but the taquillas will first open one day before the match... I wonder if it is still usefull to wait for the taquillas to buy a ticket.
 
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