A few weeks ago, I went to see the St. Kilda/West Coast game at Etihad Stadium. I had a great time (if we ignore the fact that I was so cold that I couldn’t feel my toes for about 3 days afterwards).
But there was something that almost ruined the whole experience (and I am very enthusiastic about improving the game day experience): the ticket line. It was sooooooo long.
We got to the stadium about 45 minutes before the game started but because of the ticket line, we missed the first few minutes or the first quarter. We weren’t the only ones of course – there were many, MANY people behind us in line.
Now, you may be thinking, “Serves you right – you should have bought your tickets online. ” And you know what, I thought the same thing. But why would I? There are several reasons I wouldn’t bother buying my tickets online.
1. They’re more expensive – I paid $22 for tickets to the Saints/Eagles game at the gate, but they’re $24.75 online. Sure, they may be pricier because of the “convenience” but as a club, there are enough factors preventing people from attending your game anyway – you really want to charge people more, too? (NOTE: There is also a $6.75 fee for buying online. Since I didn’t complete the transaction, I’m not sure if the $6.75 is included in the ticket price, or if it’s added onto the ticket price.)
2. It’s much harder than it needs to be. When you buy tickets online you have two options: pick them up at the gate (which, you guessed it, means more lines) or you can print them out (which, if you decide to go to the game at the last minute, you can’t do). Can someone please explain to me why, in the smartphone era, we can’t just use our phone as proof of ticket purchase? What? We can use it to board airplanes, but not get into a football game? Seems legit. (NOTE: The Wollongong Hawks do this for their games and while there can be technical issues, it usually works flawlessly)
In fact, while we were standing in line, I told boyfriend: “Can you just buy the tickets on your phone?” He tried (and so did the other two people we were with) but no one could figure out how to do it, so we had to keep waiting. Madness.
If I were a club, (or, you know, Andrew Demetriou)I would make it really, REALLY easy to buy tickets online. I would make it slightly cheaper than buying at the gate, that way people are motivated to buy in advance, and allow people to get into the game by showing proof on their phone. Don’t tell me this is too hard/impossible – I saw a commercial for this kind of thing about 10 years ago – there is not reason why it shouldn’t be commonplace now. Not only does this improve the fan experience (that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it?), it also saves clubs money.
How does it save clubs money?
You can have less people at the ticket windows, for less time meaning clubs pay less wages.
Not to mention… if you get people to buy online, you also get their email in your database. Do I even need to explain why this is extremely beneficial for clubs? You can put them on your mailing list and then do… whatever you want with it. Some people uncheck the box that says “Subscribe me to info about club X” but even still, you can at least send them a “Thanks for buying tickets” email with information about the game (links to articles on the AFL website perhaps?). This would be particularly great for people attending games for the first time.
The first time I went to a Swans game, I bought my tickets online and I still had NO IDEA how to get there. I only figured it out because I was with someone who knew about the shuttles from Central Station. How hard would it have been to send me a quick email telling me about the shuttle? Not hard at all, I think. Also, I would have loved if I could have purchased a shuttle ticket when I bought the ticket. Just saying.
So what do you think? Do you usually buy your tickets online or wait in line for them at the gate? And if you do buy online, how do you like the experience? How can it be improved?
I’ll conclude by letting you know that I always buy tickets online when it’s a major game (i.e. finals game) and there’s a risk of sell-out. But other than that, I don’t want to pay more money for something that’s basically less convenient.