Jesse Sandler Attended Kobe’s Last Game: Can We Turn That Into Something More Meaningful?



For Laker fans around the globe, Kobe’s last game was beyond words, beyond reason. The shooting guard with a balky Achilles, swollen knees, bum shoulder, and tired eyes poured in 60 points in a vintage performance that caused grown men to weep and remember their idol for what he was in his prime: an absolute f***ing warrior.

Jesse Sandler almost missed all of that, but thanks to you, he was in attendance.

“Being at the game meant everything,” Sandler said afterwards. “The atmosphere was electric.  It was so awesome to be able to be a part of that whole night. I can’t believe I was almost denied the chance to be there.”

We’re three and half months removed from the biggest PR scandal in StubHub’s history and despite Jesse’s story revealing enormous flaws in the system, nothing has changed…

The online ticketing giant and its stupid oak tree mascot wisely waited for the shitstorm to die down before publicly addressing the flaws in their system. They took their licks on social media, watched the country momentarily unite in furor over the corrupt industry they’ve played a large role in propagating, but all the while remained confident that a majority of infuriated Americans (and Canadians, we love you guys) would forget about the whole thing after a few news cycles. They were right.

We don’t have access to StubHub’s customer data, but our guess is that their numbers only suffered for a day or two (if that) before returning to normal. We hope their unabashed arrogance hurt their balance sheet, but who the hell knows…

For Jesse, the whirlwind that surrounded his story after it went viral was incredible and all-encompassing. America got pissed, got behind him, and in the matter of 16 hours, changed the world. Everyone who shared, tweeted, and upvoted on Reddit should treat themselves to some Red Lobster — it’s not often that people come together to rebel against injustice.

If you followed the story, you probably know Tickets For Less picked up the bill for four replacement tickets, and then Budweiser (#ThisBudsForJesse) came in and provided four more. Of the original four tickets, Jesse donated two to an underprivileged kid from East LA who calls Kobe Bryant his hero but had never been to able to attend a Lakers game because he couldn’t afford tickets, and two to a company called Omaze, which helped raise $30,000 for After School All-Stars, Positive Coaching Alliance and The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.

To give you some insight into the corporatized world of mainstream media, here are some interesting coincidences in the wake of the Jesse Sandler/StubHub saga:

  • and Good Morning America (an ABC show) both excitedly reached out to TheLeadSports and Jesse, but mysteriously backed out at the last minute. Two days later, conspicuously published an “Insider Q&A” fluff piece with StubHub president Scott Cutler about…nothing. 

For those unaware of the corporate entities at play: 1) StubHub spends approximately $40 million advertising on ESPN per year 2) ABC and ESPN are owned by the same parent company (Disney) 3) Why report on corruption in the online ticketing industry when you can jerk off Scott Cutler for twelve paragraphs?

  • In late January, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a report that detailed how vendors use illegal bots to monopolize the ticketing market. StubHub, who loves this practice because exorbitant ticket prices = higher fees, released the following statement: “StubHub believes that a fair, secure and open ticket marketplace supports fans. Consumers should be protected from unfair and deceptive practices that make it harder for fans to buy and use event tickets in an open market. We are strongly committed to partnering with industry, public policy and other leaders to achieve this goal.”

We believe you, StubHub. Totally believe you guys…

  • Jesse was contacted by Dana Mitchell of the California State Assembly, who is working on a bill that would make all online ticket sales final, which despite our limited exposure to the legislative process, seems like the most reasonable f***ing bill in the history of state-level politics. In the days following the original story, Jesse was asked to come to Sacramento and share his story in support of the bill, and it looked for a fleeting moment like we might actually see some real change. But since then…crickets and tumbleweeds. As we know, things move very slowly in this great democratic republic of ours, and sometimes not at all…

So here’s where we’re at: the response to Jesse’s story was amazing, but as of now, StubHub wins. Do you enjoy attending sporting events? Adele concerts? Comedy shows? Are you tired of paying 2x, 3x, 10x as much as you should pay because our government won’t step up to the plate and regulate this recalcitrant marketplace?

For those who didn’t see Jesse on TV, or hear him on the radio, he wanted one thing to transpire from all of this: he wanted to ensure that this couldn’t happen again to anyone else. Ever.

Since we published the original article on Jesse, we’ve received emails from fans who experienced the same type of market manipulation on three different ticketing websites. On each of those occasions, the CEO responded directly to the disgruntled fan and handled the issue with immediacy. Nobody wanted another StubHub situation, but the online ticketing marketplace is still the Wild Wild West — the industry needs regulation.

Below is a link to a petition that calls for federal lawmakers to pass a statute that makes all online ticket purchases final and holds the marketplace responsible for delivery. In an industry in desperate need of regulation, getting this law passed will be a vital first step in protecting consumers and making online ticket sales cheaper and safer. We appreciate you signing the petition, sharing with friends, and taking a stand against robots and exorbitant ticket prices…

Click here to sign the petition, spread the word on social media, and let’s spend the rest of our lives paying a reasonable amount of money to watch the teams, artists, and shows that we love.

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