Almost 100,000 Crows & Tigers Fans Will Miss Out On AFL Grand Final Tickets

It’s a heartbreak story for fans every year; the mad scramble to secure tickets to the AFL Grand Final has far more tales of woe than it does of triumph. But the sheer number of fans set to miss out on tickets this year is something to behold.

Both Richmond and Adelaide fans are currently enduring the panicked rush for tickets as the 100,000-ish capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground is set to be full-to-overflowing for the biggest day on the Australian sporting calendar.

But unfortunately, not everyone who’s chasing a ticket desperately (the average social media feed has been flooded with desperate, long-suffering fans clamouring to get in) will be successful. And the sheer weight of numbers is against the average punter.

Nearly 100,000 club members will miss out on tickets, thanks to the way the AFL allocates tickets to the big dance.

Richmond counts 72,669 people as club members in 2017, while Adelaide is not far off with 56,865. But thanks to a range of factors, the league is only allocating 34,000 tickets to club members.

That’s a mere 17,000 per competing club.

While that number is up on 15,000 allocated to each competing team last year, it’s still well below the 50,000 total tickets that the AFL Fan Association has been demanding for some time.

The way the league allocates tickets for the game is a fairly complex issue and relies on a number of different factors.

26,000 tickets are set aside for those lucky enough to be members of the exclusive Melbourne Cricket Club, the organisation most members began waiting in line for from birth. Their stand at the MCG is reserved exclusively for club member usage, and enforces strict dress codes at all times.

23,000 seats are set aside for the AFL Members Reserve which, like the MCC, commands significant real estate in the stands of the stadium.

But by far and away the biggest non-club member allocation of seats inside the ground on the day belongs to the group called “AFL Entitlements/Contractual Obligation” or, in other words, corporate sponsors and various hangers-on. That group, according to the AFL, is afforded a maximum of 30,000 tickets. A fair whack for people who might not necessarily have a stake in on-field proceedings come game time.

Fan Association Vice President Cheryl Critchley issued a plea for non-fans offered tickets through corporate relationships to consider declining the invitation, or passing them along to diehard fans otherwise shut out of the ground.

Part of the problem is the corporates and neutrals who go to the Grand Final when their team is not competing. I would appeal to them to let a long-suffering Richmond or Adelaide fan have their ­ticket, as they should not be there ahead of them. I’ve refused two Grand Final invitations in the past ­because I didn’t feel I should be there when my team wasn’t competing.

The Grand Final is the only game of the AFL season legislated by the State Government as a Declared Event, making it illegal to on-sell tickets to the event at a premium or above face-value. Authorities are scanning ticket re-selling websites and classified services for listings, and urge the public not to buy tickets from non-authorised sellers at inflated prices.

Either way, fans climbing over each other for a chance to get in the ground should known one way or the other by the end of today.

Good luck, sports fans.