Saints fans warned to be cautious buying tickets

With two big games coming up Friday and Sunday, Saints and Pelicans officials again are warning fans to be cautious when purchasing tickets on the secondary market.

The Pelicans will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7 p.m. Friday in the New Orleans Arena and the Saints face the Carolina Panthers at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Tickets are in high demand for both games, especially for the Saints and Panthers contest because the teams will be playing for the NFC South lead.

All Saints games have been sold out on a season basis since 2006, while the Pelicans-Thunder game was approaching a sellout Thursday afternoon.

Saints and Pelicans officials say they have seen a significant increase in fans with ticket problems being turned away at the gates.

Counterfeit tickets or other issues that crop up from purchasing tickets on the secondary market result in fans being denied entrance to the stadiums, Saints officials said.

“Based on the demand we have for these games, we want to urge fans to be careful and protect themselves from being disappointed or taken advantage of,” said Michael Stanfield, senior vice president of sales for the Saints and Pelicans.

The Saints have seen an average of 100 fans per game being denied access to the Superdome because of fraudulent tickets and related secondary ticket problems, he said.

“We have seen a growing number of issues with tickets purchased on the street or online through secondary ticket sellers other than TicketExchange,” Stanfield said. “Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do for fans who have purchased counterfeit tickets or who have any problems — including lost or damaged tickets — with seats not purchased directly from the team or through TicketMaster TicketExchange.”

While many of the bogus tickets may appear to be authentic, each legitimate ticket includes bar codes and other security features that cannot be duplicated, Stanfield said.