Sunday’s Super Netball semi-final between the Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies could not have come with higher stakes.
And yet, even with a spot in the preliminary final and bragging rights as the best team in the city up for grabs, the Melbourne derby had empty seats visible on the broadcast from the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
The Vixens average about 6,000 a week at their usual home court, Melbourne Arena, and their membership numbers alone outweigh the 3,050-seat capacity of the smaller venue.
But fans can hardly be held accountable.
Netball Australia (NA), which takes back control of ticketing and venues during the finals, hiked up ticket prices and really should have locked in their regular venue for such a big match.
In fairness, it was Father’s Day and they were beaten in securing Melbourne Arena way back in October by an esports tournament that pounced while NA was still trying to figure out a complex schedule that accommodated the Netball World Cup.
But for a sport that is still trying to cement itself as a frontrunner in the Australian landscape, it gave people more reasons to watch the game from the comfort of their homes, instead of paying extra to watch their team at a subpar venue.
What has upset fans further is that these ticket prices were different to the ones now on sale for the preliminary final to be played at Sydney’s NSW State Sports Centre — another relatively small venue.
Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-02/netball-australia-let-down-fans-with-vixens-magpies-ticketing/11471896