The AFL Aussie rules football league has cautioned its fans to steer clear of resale site Viagogo when looking to buy finals tickets.
With the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions (ACCC) recently announcing that it is taking Viagogo to federal court over alleged misleading representations and its booking fees, the AFL has advised its fans to only purchase tickets through official seller Ticketek.
The league released the warning following complaints of an arduous buying experience for fans attempting to secure tickets on Ticketek for next week’s qualifying final between Geelong and Richmond.
Fans became further exasperated when seeing Ticketmaster’s resale site flogging tickets for up to A$343 (£210/$270), with the cheapest tickets being sold for A$136.85.
According to The Age news website, AFL Fans Association spokesman Gerry Eeman described the Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale websites as allowing “legalised scalping” that “fleeces” fans.
“They are a tool to enable price gouging,” Eeman said. “There is nothing stopping the AFL from contacting the government and working with them on a fix.
“You can’t scalp AFL grand final tickets because of legislation so what’s stopping the AFL from pushing government to make it the same for all tickets?”
Tickets went on sale at 9am on Tuesday, but as many struggled to secure a seat and continued getting kicked out of the online queue they began expressing their anger on Twitter. The mood did not improve when it was announced the game had sold out.
One fan, Simon Julian said: “@Ticketek_AU I’m trying to get tickets to the footy finals. Is your system having a meltdown? #stressed”
Another, Heath Littlefield, said: “Ticketek site is useless. What is going on??? We live in 2017 for gods sake and site keeps freezing/crashing.”
Ticketek’s managing director Cameron Hoy responded on Tuesday saying: “Today’s on sale for the AFL Finals Series Week One has seen record demand and record sales for the Ticketek platform. We covered all four matches for AFL Club members and the General Public at the MCG, SCG and Adelaide Oval and transacted over 85,000 tickets in the first hour alone.
“The Ticketek platform performed to our high expectations and provided continuous online transactions for many thousands of footy fans. As with every major event onsale Ticketek deploys a virtual queue to ensure fair access to tickets.
“While we understand this can cause frustration and can lead people venting on social media, the experience today for the overwhelming majority of fans has been excellent and we note that many posted positive comments on social media.”
The AFL finals are an eight-team championship playoff tournament held over four weeks. The teams in the 2017 finals are Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond, Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide, Sydney, Essendon and West Coast.
Image: Sascha Wenninger