Ticket sales for the first-week AFL finals at the MCG and SCG will recommence at some stage on Tuesday afternoon after a shambolic morning that saw Ticketek forced to shut down their website due to significant issues faced by desperate fans attempting to purchase tickets.
Ticketek is selling tickets to three of the four finals – Richmond v Hawthorn, Melbourne v Geelong and Sydney v GWS – and sales will now be staggered throughout the day after tickets for all of those games went on sale at 9am.
Tickets that have already been purchased amid the chaos will remain valid while ticket sale commencement times for AFL members and the general public, originally Wednesday 9am and Tuesday 2pm respectively, will now be pushed back.
Ticketek’s website struggled to cope with the high amount of traffic and, two hours after tickets went on sale, many club members were still without tickets.
Some customers were able to get to the final stage of the ticket-buying process but were timed out and forced to start the process again.
Others struggled to even access the ticket-buying section of the website and were instead greeted with the message: “Thousands of fans are online to get tickets right now. Hold tight, you're in the queue. Please DO NOT refresh this page.”
After waiting for a few more minutes, those same customers were ultimately told: “Sorry ... There was a problem processing your request. Please close your browser and try again.”
Ticketek apologised for the delays to some customers and the Richmond Football Club announced on Twitter that as of 10.50am, the ticket provider’s website had been shut down as it attempted to fix the issues faced by customers.
“We are aware of the issues members have faced with purchasing tickets to our qualifying final this morning. @Ticketek_AU are currently working through the issues and have elected to shut down the ticket purchasing process until the issue is rectified,” the club tweeted.
“We understand our members are frustrated with this process. Please know there are still tickets available and we will communicate the selling of tickets to members as soon as we get an update from both the @AFL and @Ticketek_AU . We appreciate your patience at this time.”
AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman said fans were furious that problems with finals ticketing seemed to arise every year, often resulting in loyal fans missing out.
“Unfortunately, this is an annual problem that is almost becoming part of the finals experience. The frustration of fans is palpable. If the Ticketek system can’t handle the traffic, consideration must be given to staggering when tickets go on sale for each game,” Eeman said.
Another factor that could compound Ticketek’s woes is that MCC tickets for both the Melbourne-Geelong and Richmond-Hawthorn finals are due to go on sale at midday on Tuesday.
Those four teams also happen to be four of the five most supported clubs by MCC members.
“Ticketek has advised the AFL that the club member ticket onsale has been put on hold until the issue with the Ticketek system is rectified,” the AFL tweeted.
“We will keep club members up to date when the onsale recommences.”
The MCC had only just renewed its contract with Ticketek earlier this month as the ticketing services partner of the MCG.
"As the leading ticketing partner to the sports and live entertainment industry in Australia, we're delighted that Ticketek will continue to provide its ticketing services at the MCG and we look forward to working with them to bring some new and exciting events to the stadium," MCC chief executive Stuart Fox said on August 1.
Meanwhile, tickets for the West Coast v Collingwood final are being sold by Ticketmaster and there have been no such issues purchasing tickets through that ticket provider’s website.
However, Ticketmaser did report that they were experiencing a printing delay on tickets until Wednesday and that tickets wouldn't be emailed to customers until after Wednesday.
The company insisted that all other tickets would be available to print from online accounts after Wednesday as well.
"Ticketmaster is happy to report a successful on sale for the blockbuster qualifying final at Perth’s Optus Stadium. It is the first finals on sale for Optus Stadium and we are proud to have serviced thousands of footy fans," a spokesperson said.
"As with any major on sale, Ticketmaster works very hard behind the scenes to ensure we can handle huge demand and today’s on sale was no different."