For the first time in recent memory, a Suncorp Stadium hosted State of Origin game has not sold out within mere hours of tickets going on sale.
As of 8:00 pm on Wednesday night, 9,000 seats remained unsold for Game One of the Origin series, with the majority of fans agreeing that tickets are just too expensive.
Once again the everyday NRL fan is being priced out of watching the game they love by a regime who are increasingly becoming more about the books than the games.
Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the three biggest spectacles in the NRL season. Over a million people will watch on Channel 9, and all three games will dominate media for weeks to come, but in these tough times, not everyone has the disposable income to drop $200+ on tickets to the game.
Bronze Obstructed view tickets start at $60, with the premium tickets reaching $210 per seat. A maroon wig and a tour of the XXXX brewery is added for $40, taking ticket prices to $250.
Despite the perceived value of the game, an obstructed view ticket at $60 is simply far too expensive for your average fan. $200 is near impossible for your average fan. Incredibly there are no family tickets available.
To take my three year old son to the game, it would cost me $120, plus food, drink, parking or transport, for an obstructed view ticket.
In previous years, Origin games have sold out in Queensland in hours, and although Game One will likely end a sell out, the fact tickets sales have slowed must send a message to the brass.
Last season a ticket to Blatchy’s Blues started at $70, including a shirt and wig. For a ticket to the QLD section of the fans, it will set you back $180.
Dave Smith has commented numerous times about wanting to ensure families can attend games, but I doubt we will see too many families at this price with an 8 pm kick off on a school night.
To be fair Origin is tailored to television coverage, and kick off will likely drag past 10 past 8 this year to maximise ad revenue in the high rating pre-game, but it won’t look great on tv to have empty seats at any of the biggest games of the season.
Bird Charge Downgraded
Common sense finally prevailed as Greg Bird’s dangerous tackle charge was downgraded, meaning the Blues second rower will miss two games. I totally understand that with Alex McKinnon’s horrible injury that lifting tackles were always going to be cast into the spotlight, but Bird did not place a hand between the legs of his opponent. The debate will continue.
Pearce Cops A Week
Mitchell Pearce has been given a fine and suspended for one game as the investigation into his troublesome night out has come to an end. No official complaint was lodged and no further charges were laid, however it was not a good look for the game. A week seems fair.
Farah Back For Tigers
In great news for the Blues, but bad news for the black, white and blues, Robbie Farah has been named to return from injury for the Tigers. The struggling Sharks can’t catch a break at the moment. The Tigers are easily twice the side with their inspirational skipper on the park.
Storm In The Hunt
News has surfaced linking the Melbourne Storm to AFL convert Karmichael Hunt. I for one want to see Hunt back in the game, however it will be interesting to see if Dave Smith and the controversial marquee player contract system will come in to play. Is Hunt a marquee player?