Footy fans can hardly wait to return to matches in Victoria. But reduced crowd numbers mean big changes for fans lucky enough to score a seat.
Footy fans can hardly wait to return to matches in Victoria. But reduced crowd numbers mean big changes for fans lucky enough to score a seat.

Footy crowds to face ticket tussle

Members of footy's biggest club will be forced to enter a ballot to score a seat at AFL matches in Victoria this season.

With a ticket shake-up looming for every fan returning to the footy, Richmond will ask members who have paid for a guaranteed seat to instead try their luck in a draw.

Other AFL clubs are also considering a ballot, as they await Andrews Government advice on reduced crowd capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fans also face changes to the way they enter stadiums, where every member of the crowd will be required to have a dedicated seat.

Instead of scanning in with their membership barcode, spectators will need to download a "digital ticket''.

Paper tickets will become a thing of the past, with general admission seats also requiring fans to download digital passes to their mobile phone.

Richmond consumer business manager Dino Imbriano confirmed the Tiger army would be subject to an unprecedented ticket tussle.

"Reserved seat members will have to enter a ballot to gain access to home games,'' he said.

"In the lead up to all home games the club will internally run a ballot for each membership category to ensure members get to sit as close as possible to their normal seats.

"The objective is to share access to normal reserved seating areas across the season based on final capacities.''

Crowds will look a little different in 2021. Picture: Brendan Radke.
Crowds will look a little different in 2021. Picture: Brendan Radke.

If the MCG returns to full capacity or the government removes social distancing requirements, members would be able to sit in their normal reserved seats.

But a limited number of cashed up Tigers fans paying $5000-$7500 for elite memberships will skip the queue by scoring a seat without taking part in the ballot.

Richmond cheer squad president Gerard Egan said some fans would be happy to get to any matches but others were "really angry'' about the ballot.

"They have been following and going for years and years they feel they should be able to go to every match,'' he said.

The Saturday Herald Sun surveyed all 10 Victorian teams on their plans for getting fans back to the footy.

Each club will have three "priority" groups that receive preference to ticket sales, with teams deciding how membership categories are split, including reserved seat and general admission.

Visiting club members will receive priority access following home club fans and, if seating remains, tickets will then go on sale to the public.

Carlton - this year eyeing a record 80,000 members - has yet to decide if it will run a ballot but vowed to prioritise reserved seat members.

Essendon, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs and Geelong ruled out a ballot and will prioritise entry to members.

Collingwood said ticketing would be decided "on a game-by-game basis and will not involve a ballot''.

"Legends members will have priority access to redeem high-quality seats and reserved seat members will have access to select tickets during a priority window for games with reduced crowd capacities,'' it said.

AFL spokesman Jay Allen said no decision had been made on crowd numbers.

"We will continue to be led by the State Government and health officials on the capacity at venues during the 2021 AFLW and AFL seasons,'' he said.

Many clubs, including Melbourne and Richmond, have frozen membership prices and some have lowered rates.

AFL Fans' Association president Cheryl Critchley said supporters understood ticketing and membership could be compromised due to COVID-19 but wanted transparency.

"Overall ticket allocation needs to be as fair as possible,'' she said.

peter.rolfe@news.com.au

@rolfep

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Footy crowds to face ticket tussle


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