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MLS Cup Final tickets to be resold after early access codes leak to third party sellers

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Thousands of fans are set to watch the Columbus Crew face the Los Angeles Football Club in its fourth Major League Soccer Club appearance on Saturday at Lower.com Field, but some codes for early ticket sales were leaked to third-party sellers.

A password-protected pre-sale for the MLS Cup Final was leaked, according to a statement from the Columbus Crew, leading to what the organization called "unauthorized purchases" of tickets. Fans said codes were accessed by third-party ticket resellers that resulted in hiking up prices by hundreds of dollars ahead of Saturday's match.

The Crew and MLS said they were able to void those tickets and began reselling them to season ticket holders on Tuesday, but the problem still disrupted the original plan to sell tickets. Tickets go on sale to the general public starting Wednesday.

"We look forward to packing Lower.com Field on Saturday," the statement said.

Chris LaMacchia is the Communications Director for the Crew's organized supporters group, called the Nordecke [Nor-Deck-Ah], and said he and other dedicated fans are glad MLS was able to open another resale window for Crew fans.

LaMacchia said password-protected codes were given to groups like Crew season ticket holders and corporate sponsors for a pre-sale earlier this week, but some of those codes leaked, leading to ticket resellers like SeatGeek to buy up the cheapest tickets in the Nordecke fan section at Lower.com Field's north end and elsewhere in the stadium.

"It seems to have been mostly ticket resellers to purchase up to 20 tickets anywhere in the stadium, which effectively sold out the match for at least the affordable seats that the normal Crew fans would buy, blocking out or locking out Crew fans from being able to attend the match," LaMacchia said.

LaMacchia said he was able to purchase tickets, before they all sold out in the pre-sale, but many Crew fans still saw tickets on these third-party sites selling for $500-$600, when they are normally $70-$80, and were starting at $91 for the MLS Cup Final.

"The Nordecke is generally the most affordable seat in the stadium, but they were also able to buy, you know, everywhere else around the stadium outside of, you know, the premium suite areas. So it not only locked out Nordecke members, but it locked out regular Crew fans who, you know, have been around and followed the team for years," LaMacchia said.

LaMacchia said the energy of the Nordecke faithful since the Crew beat FC Cincinnati on Saturday 3-2 in extra time has been "pure excitement" and fans are excited to see the Crew compete for its third MLS Cup title.

"To say that there's a buzz, it's kind of an understatement. It's definitely a roar," LaMacchia said.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.