Thousands of footy fans have unleashed their frustration at Ticketek after a website crash during the release of AFL finals tickets meant that some fans could not get their hands on the tickets.
Club member tickets went on sale this morning on Ticketek at 9am AEST for three of the finals: Richmond-Hawthorn, Melbourne-Geelong and Sydney-GWS.
Many fans struggled to access the site, with some reporting that there were only single tickets remaining as soon as 9.25am.
Even when some users managed to get onto the website, they were told there were no tickets left.
Two hours later when fans were still reporting problems, Richmond, Hawthorn and Melbourne football clubs tweeted that sales on Ticketek had been “suspended” due to a system issue, but reassured that tickets were still available.
The incident comes amid reports that the footy is attracting record crowds.
AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman said it was “not acceptable”.
“It’s like an annual event, it’s almost like it’s become a part of the finals experience,” he told The New Daily.
“This is an ongoing problem, it happens every year, but today was particularly bad.
“If every year the system is overloaded, why release tickets to three games at the same time?”
The AFL tweeted at 11.21am that due to the Ticketek issue, 2pm public sales would be delayed.
Mr Eeman said he had been told that Ticketek began staggering sales from early afternoon.
Hans Westerbeek, a sport business professor at Victoria University, said it was “ridiculous” to put tickets to the Richmond and Geelong blockbusters on sale at the same time.
“The lack of communication from Ticketek to fans via social media was lamentable,” he said.
“Club members lining up in a queue of over 100 metres at Ticketek’s city outlet were also left in the dark for hours.
“Ticketek isn’t new to the business of selling tickets. It should have known better and, in the event of a meltdown, it had to communicate far better.”
Ticketek tweeted the following just after 10am: “Thanks for your patience, tickets are in high demand. Please do not refresh the queue page. You will automatically be redirected to the Ticketek website as other customers leave the site.”
Ticketek did not respond despite The New Daily‘s repeated requests for comment about what caused the crash and whether users would be compensated.
Honestly disgraceful. I'm confused as to where my $8 transaction fee goes when it clearly doesn't go to your servers, absolute robbery.
— Thomas Vear (@ThomasVear) August 28, 2018
spent 1.45 in the queue, could not select ANY seats as site said allocation exhausted, it then kicked me out. Thanks very much.
— radar o'reilly (@maydayhill) August 28, 2018
They did say that members tickets were on sale from 9am till 12pm, didn't think that i would have to sit in front of the computer the whole time.
— Mat Teesdale (@mteesdale) August 28, 2018
Tickets were also released at 11am AEST on competitor ticketing platform Ticketmaster to the West Coast-Collingwood final.
Mr Eeman said at 1pm on Tuesday that his association had started to see complaints emerge about Ticketmaster’s website as well on Twitter, but not at the same scale or level of difficulty.
Ticketmaster denied its website had experienced any similar problems on Tuesday and told The New Daily it had received no complaints.
“Ticketmaster is happy to report a successful on sale for the blockbuster for the qualifying final at Perth’s Optus Stadium,” a spokeswoman said.
“As with any major on sale, Ticketmaster works very hard behind the scenes to ensure we can handle huge demand and today’s on sale was no different.”
In Week 1 of the 2018 finals, Richmond will host Hawthorn at the MCG, West Coast hosts Collingwood in Perth, Melbourne hosts Geelong at the MCG, and Sydney hosts GWS at the SCG.