Corporates targeted for AFL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Corporates targeted for AFL grand final

By Mike Hedge 24/09/2008 07:29:20 PM Comments (0)

The AFL is an organisation hell-bent on spreading its game across mainland Australia.

But the way it sells tickets to its showcase event makes it almost impossible for anyone except the fortunate, the desperate or the very well-heeled to be among the 95,000-or-so to be at Saturday's grand final.

The system for getting a ticket to see the Geelong-Hawthorn decider at the MCG is simple: if you are a member of one of the competing clubs, a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club or an AFL member, you're in with a comparatively good chance.

But you are not a certainty.

If you're well connected at any of the 14 non-competing clubs, you've also got a slim hope of a $161 ticket.

That takes care of a bit more than half of the crowd.

The rest of the seats in the vast ground are sold, with AFL approval, at a staggering premium.

The price of a packaged up $161 ticket can range from around $1,000 to as much as $3,500 - and that's after scalping was made punishable by law.

The only way for the unconnected footy fan to get a ticket is to buy a corporate package, some of which are marketed by the AFL, the rest by franchised operators.

The AFL's Centre Square packages turn the basic ticket into a $1,995 all-day entertainment experience.

The price includes a magnificent menu starting with muesli at 10.30am and finishing with double chocolate brownies 12 hours later.

A seat at the footy with $1,800 worth of food, grog and Powderfinger. Whether you want it or not.

Other package providers source their tickets from the allocation of 1,000 given to each of the non-competing clubs.

The clubs keep a few hundred for internal purposes and flog the rest to the AFL-approved operators for whatever they can get for them.

The exercise may sound like scalping, but not according to the AFL.

The league's chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan defended the corporate package schemes as an integral part of the "biggest sporting event in Australia".

"Corporate packages are part of the ... grand final," McLachlan said.

"People have different needs.

"The corporate market is well established and it supports football. There are a number of people those packages appeal to."

Many of them, however, have only one need - a ticket.

But the AFL, McLachlan said, was happy with the number of tickets available to members of the two grand final clubs.

The allocation has risen this year from 21,000 to 23,000 and will be 25,000 next year.

"We've worked hard in the past two years to increase the number of tickets going to the competing clubs' members," McLachlan said.

Several other AFL-approved packages are on offer, ranging up to $3,500 which includes hotel accommodation.

But football fans, it seems, aren't falling over each other to snap up the food and entertainment packages.

Rhonda Steele, a Geelong fan with an appetite for little more than a pie and a cup of tea, feels let down by the AFL.

"The match will be a sellout, but I think that's what the AFL has done to the ordinary fans," Ms Steele said.

"We've been sold out."

A call to one package franchiser revealed ample availability, and a rejection of the asking price resulted in the offer of a 25 per cent discount.

It still left the price of a $161 ticket at around $1,500 - and an AFL administration happy that those awful scalpers are nowhere in sight.

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