Olivia Rodrigo is preparing for a world tour. There are a number of stops in North America, and North American fans can register for tickets online. But only if they have a U.S. phone number. Ticketmaster considers Puerto Rico phone numbers foreign. So fans with Puerto Rico numbers can’t buy tickets.
This means that a fan in San Juan can’t buy a ticket and fly to Orlando or Miami to see the show. It also means that a fan living in Orlando but using a Puerto Rico phone number can’t buy a ticket for a show in the town where they live.
As Americans increasingly use mobile phones as their main phone number, it is common to keep the same phone number when they move. The area code no longer identifies people’s true location.
What’s the point of the rule?
Ticketmaster does not explicitly announce this rule, but they do require a phone number to set up an account before purchasing tickets, and the phone number is used for a variety of tasks in the system. “Consumers can use this number to purchase tickets to any events in the continental United States, no matter what their location is,” one website explains. “The system recognizes where in the United States the caller is calling from so all local prompting or messaging will still work.”
In other words, location is not an issue for concert-goers, as long as they have a U.S. phone number. A U.S. phone number will provide an opportunity for access to any concert in any state, regardless of area code.
But it appears that Ticketmaster’s system does not recognize Puerto Rico phone numbers’ locations as “in the United States.”
Puerto Rico’s area codes are 787 and 939, but the country code is 1, just like the rest of the United States.
Disregarding Puerto Rico
Recent news reports have shown that there are still many Americans who don’t realize that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Puerto Rican citizens have been asked for passports, refused service, and even threatened with deportation by people who believed they were foreign nationals. It seems that Ticketmaster’s technology has the same problem.
Ticketmaster has not made any statements about this and there is no indication that it was a thought-out decision. Like failing to include Puerto Rico in U.S. statistics, excluding Puerto Rico from federal benefits, and disenfranchising voters, this is just one more example of Puerto Rico being left out.