KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An event geared toward families and meant to make people smile has two metro mothers feeling singled out. Hundreds of families will go in and out of the doors at the Sprint Center over the next few days for Disney On Ice shows, but one woman who bought her tickets at the box office didn’t go the show because of a word that was printed on them.
Date, time, row and seat number are basic pieces of information printed on most event tickets. Something printed on Patty Velo’s ticket made her mad enough to skip Friday morning’s Disney On Ice show at the Sprint Center.
“I was shocked and upset. I’m like, ‘Okay, I thought we was past this many, many years ago. What does it matter if I’m Hispanic, or black, or white, or whatever race I am, and why would it have to be on my child’s ticket?’” said Velo.
The word “Hispanic” was printed on the three tickets she bought at the Sprint Center box office. She used a coupon she got at her credit union, which reduced the price of the tickets from $16 and $22, down to $10 for several shows. The lime green coupons are printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other.
“So if I got the coupon at the Chinese market, which I`ve gotten before, is it going to say Vietnamese, or Chinese on there? It didn’t make any sense to me,” Velo said.
It didn’t make sense for Lana Whisler either. She bought tickets at the same place, with the same type of coupon, for a Saturday show. This will be her two daughters’ first time to see Disney On Ice.
“If I have bought the tickets and have the row, seat, that says on the ticket that this is my ticket, then I don’t think you need my race,” Whisler said.
Velo got her coupon at the credit union where she banks, and Whisler got her coupon from her cousin, but FOX 4 stopped by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City. The office is distributing the same type of coupons the women used because it partners with Feld Entertainment, the company that promotes the Disney On Ice shows.
“The reason why we have that partnership is to make sure there’s more diversity and more inclusion to go see these shows,” Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Carlos Gomez said.
He doesn’t believe anyone was being singled out.
“What I do believe is probably because we’re the partner, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a lot of times when we partner with ticketed events, they abbreviate or the name gets shortened, so the word Chamber of Commerce probably didn’t get on there, and maybe just Hispanic,” said Gomez.
In the absence of malice, he reiterated that the word speaks more to the diversity they are hoping to achieve.
“I don’t think there’s any ill will, or any ill intentions of anyone trying to single out anyone. On the contrary, I think what people are trying to do is get more diversity, more Hispanics to come to events at the Sprint Center.”
A representative with the Sprint Center said: “All ticketing text and discounts are determined by the promoter, event, or show.” An emailed statement also said, “Sprint Center and our partners reach out to all segments of the population to ensure everyone has an opportunity to see shows and events at our venue. The specific tickets in question were redeemed as part of a promotion. Sales related to all promotions and demographics are tracked by the ticketing system for each Sprint Center event.”
FOX 4 called Feld Entertainment throughout the day to ask whether the company plans to change the wording on tickets for promotions moving forward. The company did not return our phone calls.