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SBD Global/April 3, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Football League Acknowledges Its Poor Explanation Of Ticket System

After an "underwhelming start to the season, and faced with simmering supporter discontent," the Australian Football League acknowledged that "it has not adequately gazetted and explained its new variable price ticketing system," according to Greg Baum of THE AGE. But it does not accept that the system is to blame for mediocre attendances, saying that "has more to do with a calculated decision to make a soft start" -- since none of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground or Adelaide Oval were available for round one -- and to experiment with Thursday and Sunday nights. The AFL said that "some ticket prices have fallen" -- from A$36 ($33) to A$25 on the top deck of the MCG, for instance, even for blockbusters. It says nearly all tickets were sold in the first two rounds, even to matches in which crowds failed to meet expectations. The few unsold tickets generally were the cheapest, belying the idea that price was the issue. AFL Commercial Operations Manager Darren Birch said, "Is there confusion in the marketplace? Yes, there probably is. It is complicated. It is new. It is a difficult model for people to get their heads around. It is a significant change after a long, long time." But Birch foreshadowed further change. He said that "the AFL hoped later this year to test dynamic ticketing, as used by some professional American sports" (THE AGE, 4/2).

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