ATHENS – Three months ago, when a story was posted on DawgNation.com about Georgia fans seeking tickets on the secondary market for the Sept. 9 Notre Dame game in South Bend, Ind., several readers warned in the comments section about the possibility of those orders not coming through.
“I wouldn’t relax until you’ve got those tickets in hand and they’ve been scanned at the stadium,” wrote one commenter.
At least a few unfortunate folks are feeling the reality of that statement today.
Athens resident Chip Folendore was the primary subject in that report from June. He was beaming then about having found four tickets for $1,100 from All Sports Tickets, a local ticket brokerage operating in Eatonton, Ga. Folendore’s deal was better than most, with tickets being advertised at the time between $500 and $7,000 apiece, depending on location.
But a week away from his planned departure for South Bend, Folendore has yet to receive those tickets. On Wednesday, he contacted the owner of All Sports Tickets, Jeff Cook, to discuss it.
“He told me back when I bought them he’d mail them out no later than Aug. 30,” Folendore said. “So I contacted him and he said, ‘Well, I’m getting tickets every day, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to mail them until next week.’ I said, ‘What do you mean next week?’ Monday’s a holiday and I’m leaving Thursday!’ He said, ‘That’s the best I can do.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s not very good.’”
Folendore is not alone.
Bill Ard of Greensboro also purchased four tickets from Cook for $1,100. And he also said has not received them.
“Yeah, I’m a little perturbed,” said Ard, who owns and operates a propane company in Greene County. “I had my doubts and right now it’s looking like my premonition is coming to fruition. I’ve got a few more days to see but it’s not looking good right now.”
As it turns out, Ard lives just 4 miles from Cook, on the other side of the Highway 44 Bridge spanning Lake Oconee. So when he couldn’t get Cook on the phone this week, he went to the man’s house on Wednesday and knocked on his door to get some answers.
“He gave me the same story about how the allotments hadn’t come in and that he’s still expecting them,” Ard said. “I showed him the text message from February where he told me the row and the section I’d be in. And basically he told me he couldn’t assure me that or that he’d have them by the time I fly out on Thursday. He said he could overnight them to my hotel. I said, ‘If I don’t have them by now I don’t have a real good feeling about them coming in.’ I gave him until Tuesday to come up with them.”
In the meantime, both Folendore and Ard have reported All Sports Tickets to their respective credit-card companies for not delivering on their purchase. Folendore said Cook told him he sold more than 500 tickets for the Georgia-Notre Dame game. Ard said he saw negative reviews on Yelp about All Sports Tickets not delivering on purchases. He said he plans to call his local sheriff if Cook doesn’t come through.
Cook did not answer calls or return messages left on his cell phone. It’s the same number he provided to everyone who purchased tickets to the game.
This was the message on Cook’s voicemail: “If you are calling about Notre Dame tickets, I am shipping them out as I get them from the Notre Dame allotment side. I do not have all of the allotment in from the Notre Dame side. As soon as I get those allotments in I will be shipping more out. Until then I will be getting tickets out as I get the allotments. Thank you.”
For the record, both UGA and Notre Dame’s ticket allotments were processed in early August. Notre Dame Stadium seats 80,000 and Georgia received 8,400 tickets for its band, donor base and players’ families.
In the meantime, neither Folendore nor Ard are waiting around to see if Cook makes good. Both of them are continuing to seek other tickets on the secondary market. However, everything that’s available a week out is considerably more expensive than what they’d initially planned to spend.
For Folendore, price is an object. For Ard, it is not.
Ard said this is a “bucket-list trip” for him and his 69-year-old father.
“We’re flying to Chicago next Thursday, staying at the Drake (hotel), got tickets right behind home plate for the Cubs’ game, got tickets to a Georgia tailgate party on Saturday,” Ard said. “I spared no expense, and now it looks like I’m going without tickets to the game.”
Ard said he has a message on eBay and is monitoring all the major online ticket outlets.
“They’re asking quite a bit more,” Ard said. “But I’ve already told my dad, I’m getting him in the game.”
Folendore, who had planned to drive north with three friends and stay in Maryville, Ind., hasn’t given up hope yet. But he’s resigned to possibly not making what he called “the trip of a lifetime.”
“It is what it is,” he said. “I’m not happy about it. I was a little concerned with this guy but I decided to give it a whirl. I don’t know. We’ll see, I guess.”