The AFL Fans Association (AFLFA) says it is “really concerning” that the game’s most dedicated supporters are being purposefully targeted by scalpers.
AFLFA’s outrage was sparked by exorbitant prices being charged to Western Bulldogs and GWS Giants fans for preliminary final tickets online, immediately after going on sale on Monday morning.
Scalpers took to the Ticketmaster Resale website to sell multiple tickets they had just purchased at face value, at mark-ups ranging from $100 to $200.
Western Bulldogs supporters – who haven’t seen their team win a premiership since 1954 or even make a grand final since 1961 – were forced to scramble for preliminary final tickets because the game will be played at the 24,000-capacity Spotless Stadium.
“It is really concerning,” AFLFA president Gerry Eeman told The New Daily. “Doggies fans are particularly vulnerable at the moment because Spotless Stadium is such a small venue so there really is scope for them being abused.
“This issue has been happening at all finals. There is constant fleecing of fans who want to get tickets to finals.”
Mr Eeman urged the AFL to work with the government to find a solution to the online scalping problem. Scalping is only illegal for certain big events like the AFL Grand Final.
The Ticketmaster Resale site was advertising tickets for GWS vs Western Bulldogs on its homepage.
The Ticketmaster Resale website describes itself as “an online open marketplace providing a secure platform for any third party buyers and sellers to buy and sell live entertainment tickets for sport, concert, theatre and more”.
“Tickets are sold at a price determined by the seller – this may be more or less than the face value of the ticket.”
This means Ticketmaster essentially provides a secure and safe environment for scalpers to profit from on-selling tickets.
Tickets for the other preliminary final – Geelong vs Sydney at the MCG – were also being sold at inflated prices on Ticketmaster Resale.
The New Daily approached Ticketmaster and the AFL for comment, but received no responses.
Only 1800 public tickets remained available for purchase as of 5:30pm Monday evening, according to the AFL.
AFL communications boss Patrick Keane tweeted on Monday evening that Western Bulldogs members bought 8100 tickets before 5:30pm and GWS fans bought 6200.
Some 4600 unsold member tickets went to general sale, he wrote.
Footy airfares spike too
It also emerged on Monday that Western Bulldogs fans were being charged extra for airfares to Sydney.
Qantas, Tiger, Virgin and Jetstar were all charging considerably more for seats before and after the preliminary final, when compared with the advertised prices for the weekend after.
A Jetstar return ticket from Melbourne to Sydney and back (departing Saturday morning and returning Sunday night) cost $423 for preliminary final weekend.
Advertised Jetstar prices for similar flights the following weekend cost $241.
Virgin and Tiger had similar but smaller price discrepancies, with Qantas’ price differences being under $100.
Similar airfare mark-ups have occurred in the past for major sporting events.
Most recently it happened for Western Sydney Wanderers A-League fans who wanted flights for their team’s grand final in Adelaide.