By Rusty Bradshaw
Some Sun City residents want Recreation Centers of Sun City officials to make changes to the format for purchasing season tickets to rec centers shows.
For the indoor shows at Sundial Recreation Center, 14801 N. 103rd Ave., residents must now go to Lakeview Recreation Center, 10626 W. Thunderbird Blvd., the first day season tickets go on sale in November, and for single performance tickets when they go on sale in December, and receive a service number, then return later to purchase tickets. The service numbers are handed out beginning at 5:15 a.m. and ticket sales begin at 8:30 a.m.
But residents are not happy about having to go to Sundial twice in one day or stand in long lines to get their show tickets.
“I really love the entertainment, but the ticket sales are an issue,” Mary Schoenberg told the board during the March 11 member/director exchange meeting.
She suggested simply opening the box office for sales instead of making residents come back for a second round.
Theresa Cirino, RCSC Member Services director, said with the increased popularity of the shows and the season tickets, people have been getting in line earlier and earlier each year to select their seating preference.
‘That it is a personal choice, not a requirement for people to line-up before we are open for business; therefore, it is dark and there is no restroom access at this time,” Ms. Cirino stated in an email. “The Lakeview Recreation Center is closed until 5:15 a.m. on the beginning day of ticket sales. At that time, the ‘Gold Ramp’ gate is the only one opened to obtain a number to for a secured place in line.”
She added service numbers are given to allow residents a chance to go home and come back after 8:30 a.m. when tickets actually do go on sale; or later, depending on the number sequence that is received.
“If we didn’t begin with handing our numbers some may be in line for 8-10 hours or more,” Ms. Cirino stated.
This procedure is in place for the first day or two in November when only season tickets are available through November, she explained. The first day that individual show tickets go on sale in December this same procedure is followed. Once individual show tickets go on sale in December, season tickets are no longer available for purchase and individual show tickets will be sold until the show sells out.
Ms. Schoenberg also suggested using technology to offer sales online and providing a “will call” window for residents to pick up their tickets after purchase. If the existing system remains in place, she suggested RCSC officials provided an indoor waiting room.
“That gives us a heated place to wait, and it would be a safer environment,” she said.
Carol Breit suggested RCSC officials include on its website a “now being served” counter so residents can check to see how soon their number would be served.
“That would give us an idea when to return,” she said.
Ms. Breit said she was told it would cost $40,000 to update the RCSC website to allow online ticket sales. Judy Shauge believes the existing process for ticket purchases is unreasonable.
“I was told this is reviewed repeatedly and that this is the only reasonable and fair way to do it,” she said.
Some area entertainment venues have ticket sales systems that eliminate the need to stand in long lines.
“I don’t see any reason we should have to stand in line twice,” said Ida Recksis. “There’s got to be a better way.”
It was also suggested season ticket holders be able to reserve their same seats year-after-year. But RCSC officials believe that would be unfair to all residents.
“The turnover in this community is quite progressive,” Ms. Cirino stated. “By not allowing season ticket holders the opportunity to re-reserve their current seats gives all cardholders, existing and new, the same opportunity to purchase preferred seating.”
For the 2019 Sundial series, 763 seats were sold to season ticket holders.
“If we were to sell out, to all season ticket holders, in any given year then no one else would have an opportunity to attend a show,” Ms. Cirino stated. “Granted, not all RCSC cardholders want season tickets. However, with a seating capacity of 1480 seats available for the Sundial shows, in a community of more than 33,000 RCSC members, this would create an unfair advantage overall.”
RCSC officials are pleased the entertainment has been popular enough to warrant this high demand for tickets at the prices available. Ms. Cirino stated officials will do everything possible to make the ticket sales process reasonable, safe and as fair as possible for all RCSC cardholders that want the opportunity to enjoy the entertainment.