MCG guarantees bumper AFL finals crowd - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

MCG guarantees bumper AFL finals crowd

By Roger Vaughan and Daniel Brettig 05/09/2008 06:16:54 PM Comments (0)

Regardless of the interest that Sydney and Adelaide fans show this weekend, the MCG will guarantee the AFL a bumper finals series attendance.

The grand final venue hosts seven finals, the first time this has happened since 2000.

While ticket sales for AAMI Stadium are sluggish and those for ANZ Stadium are embarrassing, it does not matter.

For the second year in a row, the AFL should break their overall season attendance record.

"Seven finals is great and probably even more, the fact that there will be two preliminary finals at the `G for the first time in some years," said Melbourne Cricket Club chief executive Stephen Gough.

"That becomes a bit more cream in terms of attendance."

Last year's Geelong-Collingwood preliminary final attracted 98,000 fans.

It was a rare occasion where the MCG members section was full.

"It's the last opportunity for supporters and members of those clubs to get along and so it becomes like a mini-grand final," Gough said.

"There's so much at stake, yes, they are heavily sought-after tickets.

"It's a nicer problem to have that we have these extra matches, particularly for the preliminary final."

This is a far cry from earlier in the decade, when non-Victorian teams were dominating the top eight and the MCG was locked in bitter contract re-negotiations with the AFL.

Saturday's two elimination finals will be the only matches this September not at the MCG.

"We always said there would be a cycle in this and we've seen the other end of it, where we've had domination from non-Victorian sides," Gough said.

"Now we're seeing it swing back and of course we're delighted that we'll have seven finals at the MCG.

"It's a really positive thing for the ground."

As of 4.30pm, 36,155 tickets were sold for Saturday's Adelaide-Collingwood elimination final at AAMI Stadium.

Only 17,127 tickets had gone for Saturday night's Sydney-North Melbourne knockout final at ANZ Stadium, which can hold 81,000 fans.

"If it was me I'd be running around with my car out in Blacktown giving tickets out the window because if you are talking about bringing a second team in (Sydney in 2012), you'd be introducing new people," Sydney coach Paul Roos said on Thursday.

"Giving free tickets out to Blacktown or whatever, I would have thought you'd do everything you possibly could to have 60,000 people there.

"Whether that's giving away 20,000 tickets, so be it."

Adelaide chief executive Steven Trigg said Saturday afternoon was not an ideal time slot for their match.

He also expects a lot of walk-up sales on Saturday and pointed out that SANFL members had to pay at AAMI Stadium, whereas MCC members can attend all finals as part of their annual subscription.

"I'm sure it makes some sort of difference, that's why it's always difficult to compare the figures for the MCG against those for AAMI Stadium," he said.

"If we ask why are sales a bit slow then we look at factors like the Saturday afternoon timeslot conflicting with local sport, maybe the show (Royal Adelaide Show), maybe Saturday afternoon retail, which has never been our preferred timing for a game, but it's also to do with cost."

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