Soccer Fans Feel Scammed in Messi Bait-and-Switch

Fans paid $2,500 each for VIP access and meet-and-greet at Soldier Field

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Soccer star Lionel Messi disappointed nearly 70 VIP ticket holders over the weekend -- many of them children -- after he failed to show for a scheduled meet-and-greet after an event at Soldier Field. Anthony Ponce reports.

    Soccer star Lionel Messi disappointed nearly 70 VIP ticket holders over the weekend -- many of them children -- after he failed to show for a scheduled meet-and-greet after an event at Soldier Field.

    Among the fans were Tom Kostaglanis and his son, Mike, as well as Tony Sherwood and his son, Hudson. After paying $2,500 for each ticket, the hopefuls were herded into a small room underneath the field where they say they waited for roughly two hours for the FC Barcelona star who never showed.

    "It was chaos. It was 90 degrees in there," explained Tony Sherwood, who bought the experience as a birthday present to his son.

    The fans said their ticket package to the Messi and Friends Tour also included signed jerseys. They turned out to be T-shirts with a pre-printed autograph.

    "All of [the kids were] weeping and crying, and that's just not acceptable," said Tom Kostaglanis.

    Young Hudson Sherwood said he's so upset by what happened that maybe the next soccer jersey he buys will be someone other than Messi's. He already has six of those.

    The promoter responsible for the event was "Numero Cinco." The Miami-based company promised a statement by 5 p.m. Tuesday to explain what happened over the weekend, along with information as to whether refunds would be issued.

    That statement had not arrived by 9 p.m. Tuesday.