Unprecedented demand for Ashes tickets - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Unprecedented demand for Ashes tickets

By Adam Cooper 01/06/2006 07:33:14 PM Comments (0)

The race for Ashes tickets caused unprecedented demand among Australian cricket fans on Thursday, but a nation-wide meltdown left thousands disappointed and empty-handed.

Cricket Australia (CA) had sold 182,000 tickets by 5pm (AEST), which makes next summer's Australia-England battle the most anticipated cricket series in this country's history.

Despite the response - which generated an estimated $9 million in sales - thousands of fans missed out on tickets after fruitless hours on the phone and online, and despite pledging their loyalty to CA earlier this year in the hope of getting first access.

The sale of tickets across 41 days of international cricket (comprising Tests, ODIs and Twenty20) were only available to the 128,000 members of the Australian Cricket Family (ACF), a registry established to give loyal fans first grabs, but even those fans did their share of teeth-gnashing.

There were delays across Australia trying to get seats through ticket agencies Ticketek, Ticketmaster and Venue Tix as phonelines were constantly engaged and websites crashed within minutes due to high demand.

To add insult, opportunists who did get tickets quickly put them up for auction on eBay, and many were happy to post them to the UK.

But CA said it had the right to cancel tickets being scalped.

CA chief executive James Sutherland sympathised with the fans who missed out but said CA and the agencies were prepared as well as they could be.

"Perhaps we have to some extent not understood the huge response that was going to happen from nine o'clock, but at the same stage we are seeing every second, 10 tickets go out the door," he said.

CA opted for a nation-wide sale rather than staggering sales over different states on different days, but Sutherland conceded the issue might need addressing.

"Perhaps there's been some teething problems ... when the dust settles in the future we'll have a look at that," he said.

But those admissions did little to console annoyed fans.

Sydneysider Gordon Leggoe spent three hours redialling Ticketek's number and refreshing its website and when he got through, was told the allocations for the first four days of the SCG Test had sold.

"It's an absolute debacle," he said.

"I don't know how Cricket Australia could know about this for so long and be so disorganised.

"If I'd had a gun it would have been dangerous."

Heartbroken fan Sarah Michael was first in line at the Sydney Ticketek office at 6.30am, only to be told she had to buy her tickets over the phone or via the internet, having been wrongly guaranteed she could get them the old-fashioned way.

"We were taking some kids with us and they were so excited about it and to tell them, they were very disappointed," she told ABC radio.

Sutherland said the response for tickets had been "extraordinary" and pleaded with people to be patient with ticketing agencies.

"It's a very strong indication that all of the ticketing agencies around the country are operating at full throttle," he said.

"When you've got that sort of demand and activity it's inevitable there will be some bugs along the way, but everyone is working very hard to do their very best."

Sutherland said CA would clamp down on scalpers selling tickets on eBay, as it had the right to cancel tickets.

"Anyone who's bought a ticket under the terms and conditions is not able to on-sell that ticket, the issues for us are tracking that down," he said.

By 5pm AEST the allocations for the first four days in Sydney and the first three days in Adelaide were sold out, while Perth was on similar track.

Tickets were also selling fast in Brisbane and Melbourne, which holds the record - 90,800 - for the biggest Test crowd on a single day.

But that mark, set on day two of the 1960-61 Test between Australia and the West Indies, could be bettered on Boxing Day this year.

Tickets for ACF members will continue to sell on Friday before the remainder (plus an allocation already set aside) go on sale to members of the general public (including England fans) on June 19.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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