blue jays ticketmaster wheelchar

Toronto Blue Jays fan in wheelchair calls out Ticketmaster

As someone who lives with cerebral palsy, Toronto Blue Jays fan Andrew Nielsen uses a wheelchair and can only sit in certain sections when attending games at the Rogers Centre.

As a result, finding field-level tickets to the Blue Jays' Friday matchup against the Colorado Rockies seemed like a home run for the fan.

Unfortunately, that dream was short-lived as Nielsen was asked by security to relocate sections during the early innings of the game after learning that the tickets he purchased on Ticketmaster had allegedly been mislabelled as "wheelchair accessible."

Taking to social media to voice his displeasure with the ticket distributor, Nielsen highlighted his experience in a lengthy X thread.

"Very disappointed [with] Ticketmaster. Bought field level wheelchair accessible seats only to be asked to leave because you labelled them incorrectly on your website," Nielsen wrote before disclosing that he was directed back to the box office at the stadium.

"We did not know that we had in fact bought seats at the top. We wouldn't want to take seats from anyone who had paid for them," he added. "We asked if we could buy seats in this section but they were sold out."

Nielsen later revealed that the Blue Jays offered him alternative seats after reaching out to Ticketmaster.

"The Blue Jays graciously offered us other seats. We really appreciated that but as a disabled person, I had been dreaming of sitting field level my whole life," he wrote.

While highlighting the lack of wheelchair-accessible seating at both Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena, Nielsen reiterated that he is not upset with the employees at either of the major sporting arenas.

"I'm not upset with the staff who work at the Rogers Centre or Scotiabank Arena. I have always found the fan support, guest services, ushers and security staff to be hard working, wonderful people who bend over backwards to help you. I have been helped by these people many times," he added.

"The issue here is with the limited number of wheelchair accessible seats, being able to purchase these seats and the location of these areas. Not many field level experiences exist for people who use mobility devices. Yes, accessibility has improved. But how much?"

"When the issue was brought to our attention, we quickly relocated the fan to upgraded accessible seating in the lower bowl behind home plate," a Blue Jays spokesperson said in an email.

"We apologized to the fan, and have since modified the online ticket purchase process to ensure a better experience when selecting accessible seating at the ballpark."

"As part of the recent renovations, the Blue Jays have greatly improved accessibility at the ballpark with 18 per cent more accessible seats than last season including accessible field level seats, handrails in every aisle, a dedicated accessible entrance, and better sightlines from accessible seating. The club worked closely with the city and industry partners to meet AODA code."

When selecting "accessible seating" on Ticketmaster's interactive online map, it highlights such seating in both the lower bowl (field level) and upper bowl (top of 100 level). However, choosing between these sections online can cause potential confusion in distinguishing between the two.

The Blue Jays are aware of the issue and are working on fixing it to provide better clarity for fans in the future.

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