The Eels, for instance, have 29,011 members, of which almost 20,000 are of the ticketed variety. While Bankwest Stadium has a capacity of about 30,000, only half that number will be allowed in the gates. Corporates and sponsors will take up significant allocations.
The Eels are expected to host a home game in week two or three of the finals and will likely elect to play at Bankwest, where they have an outstanding record, rather than the larger ANZ Stadium. South Sydney also have a huge following with almost 30,000 members, although their full-season ticket-holder numbers are significantly less than the Eels. Some members wanting to attend finals games could also be disappointed as Wayne Bennett attempts to win an eighth premiership.
Under normal circumstances, an ANZ grand final would host about 20,000 stadium members and corporates, and up to 20,000 members from each fan base, leaving about 20,000 general admission tickets. However, those numbers are expected to be halved this year to comply with government regulations.
Tickets to some other finals matches will be scarcer still, particularly for Eels and Panthers supporters. While Both fan bases are excited about the prospect of breaking premiership droughts – Parramatta last won a grand final in 1986 – only a fraction will get the chance to witness their side’s finals campaign.
The NRL, rather than the clubs, is responsible for the allocation of finals tickets and hasn’t made a definitive call on how they will be offered. However, it has provided the clubs an indication of how it proposes to divvy them up for the first three weeks of the finals.
Under a draft proposal sent to clubs, ticketed members will get first dibs when seats go on sale on the Monday leading up to the game at 10am; non-ticketed members from 1pm; and partners – such as corporates, media and nrl.com – get their window from 4pm. The general public won’t get a look-in until Tuesday at 10am.
However, there is no guarantee there will be any left over once ticketed members get their share. The NRL has also indicated it may scrap the reduced member rates, or even the customary member buying window altogether, depending on availability for specific matches.
Speaking on Nine’s Today show, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys said he was hopeful seating restrictions would ease further before the grand final.
“It could do, we’ll monitor it and speak to the government, because if there’s no risk whatsoever there could be more fans, because a lot of fans will miss out,” V’landys said.
“We want to accommodate as many fans as possible, they’ve been so loyal to the game, we want to repay that loyalty, because our fans are our No.1 priority.”
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