Fans hoping to see this weekend’s A-League grand final between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory have been left bitterly disappointed after tickets sold out within minutes.
Adding insult to injury, some tickets later reappeared online up to 12 times the original sale price.
The match, scheduled for Saturday in Newcastle, has been long-awaited by Jets supporters, whose team has endured a decade of internal turmoil and three wooden spoons.
Twenty-thousand tickets were snapped up by members on Sunday – with members allowed to purchase 10 each – while general tickets to the match disappeared within 10 minutes of going online.
Tickets then started reappearing on the Ticketmaster Resale site for hugely-inflated prices.
Some tickets originally sold for about $100 were being resold for $1281.73.
❤️💙💛 TICKET UPDATE ❤️💙💛TICKETS ARE OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT !!We thank Every supporter that was lucky enough to snap up a…
Jets member Gary Jenness said he tried to buy some for friends on Monday and was shocked the price had risen to four times the original value.
“I wasn’t buying them from what is some dodgy website,” Mr Jenness said.
“This is Ticketmaster and they’re telling me I’ve got this special opportunity one day later as a football family presale offer to buy them at four times the original price.”
Fans took to social media to vent their frustration.
“Ticketmaster you should be ashamed of yourselves, not only have the plebs who have honoured the Jets tirelessly not been given the chance to buy tickets because members are buying 10 tickets each, now you’re allowing resale of those tickets for up to 400 dollars!!!” one fan said on Facebook.
“Shame on you for allowing this, and shame on the Jets for supporting such a preposterous method for your fans buying tickets!!!”
“Can anyone explain why reselling through the Ticketmaster site is legal? If I stood outside the ground and tried to flog tickets for ridiculous prices I’d be charged, yet there were tickets being re-sold before the general public allocation was even open,” said another fan.
Doreen Hislop waited hours in the rain in Newcastle to buy her ticket but said they sold out in just two minutes.
“There were three windows open and three people got tickets and then after that, there were people waiting and waiting and waiting and the server, the computer, kept going down and they’d get halfway through getting their tickets and it would crash,” she said.
— Leich23 (@leichy23) April 30, 2018
Ms Hislop said a pensioner who had been a member for 10 years caught the bus in to purchase tickets, but was forced to leave empty-handed.
“She doesn’t have the internet, so she couldn’t get online to buy them…she was devastated,” she said.
Calls to report overpriced tickets
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna warned on Monday night that members caught selling tickets for inflated prices will be banned.
“If anyone offers you GF tickets at an inflated price, do not buy and get their name and report to the Jets office. If these people are members, we will ban them in the future,” McKinna posted on Twitter.
He said the club was working with Football Federation Australia to try to secure extra tickets for members.
“It could be some of the corporate tickets from other clubs, it could be some of the sponsors’ tickets that are not getting used — a lot are complimentary through contractual agreements through FFA.
“So, if these aren’t getting used by the people who’ve got them, FFA is trying to get them back to the club.
“Not going back to general sale, going back to the club.
“That’s no promise — far from it. We’re just doing our best.”
Calls for market transparency
Consumer advocacy group Choice is warning anyone who missed out on a ticket in the original sale to not risk buying from a resale site.
“Resale sites are highly problematic, just purely because of the way they’re poorly run and poorly regulated,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.
“You’re likely to drop hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a ticket and you’ve got no way of knowing if your ticket is real or whether or not if you turn up to the grounds the ticket will be cancelled.”
Dealing with the Ticketmaster Resale site is especially confusing, as it seems to be a part of the official vendor for the grand final match, Ticketmaster, he said.
“A lot of people think they’re dealing with Ticketmaster, but you’re not dealing with Ticketmaster, you’re dealing with Ticketmaster Resale… when you’re on Ticketmaster Resale it should be really clear to you that they are not the official ticket seller,” Mr Godfrey said.
“This market really does needs reform. They need to do a lot to improve transparency around what they’re doing.”
Choice asked the competition watchdog ACCC last year to investigate resale websites, including Ticketmaster Resale, for potential breaches of Australian Consumer Law.
Emails to Ticketmaster Resale (carrying the Ticketmaster domain name) bounced back.
The ABC sought comment from Ticketmaster.