Fans given ‘shady’ deal
Refund offer for those who bought top-tier seats only for area to be closed
REFUNDS are being offered to cricket fans with tickets to this week’s inaugural Test at Optus Stadium after having their seats moved out of the shaded top tier.
Cricket Australia (CA) said about 1500 ticketholders over the four days of play had been relocated into like-forlike priced seats elsewhere on the lower levels.
As reported by The Sunday Times, level five will be closed due to lowerthan-expected ticket sales for the Test, which starts on Friday.
Fans have been offered free sunscreen for the match, which was expected to draw a crowd of about 70,000.
Only the WACA members’ end of the stadium will be open on the top tier and CA has rejected calls from Cancer Council WA to make the level five seats available for sale, despite the mercury being forecast to reach 34C on Friday.
Devoted cricket supporter Michelle Ryan had planned to travel from her home in Sydney to cheer on Justin Langer’s Australia against India at the new 60,000-seat stadium.
Back in June she bought tickets that cost $105 each to sit on level five and in-line with the wicket for the first three days of play, as well as paying for flights and accommodation.
Last Saturday she was shocked to receive an email from Ticketmaster that said due to “operational reasons the area where you originally purchased tickets is no longer available”.
She was told her seats had been relocated, “but please don’t worry, we have moved you closer to the action on level one and close to the food and beverage outlets”.
The new seats she was offered were relocated next to the sight screen and in an area that will get periods of sun in the mid morning and early afternoon.
“I am absolutely disgusted with Cricket Australia’s decision,” she said. “I live in Sydney and follow the Test team around the world. However, due to the lack of shade at the WACA, I have watched Tests in Perth on two occasions. “Therefore when tickets went on sale for Optus Stadium I deliberately bought tickets on level five. I bought these tickets on June 5, which was the first day they went on sale to Gold Cricket Family Members.
“If I wanted to sit on level one — where they are putting me now — I would have bought them at that time. To say that free sunscreen will solve the problem is ridiculous.”
She has requested a refund from Ticketmaster, but will travel to Perth where she’ll watch the Test on TV. “I find it amazing they moved cricket out of the WACA because it was too small and moved into the stadium that’s too big,” Ms Ryan said.
WA Nationals’ sports spokesman Peter Rundle wrote to CA to urge it to reconsider the decision. A CA spokesman said it was happy to discuss refunds or alternative seating with supporters.