I suppose we were warned.
Andy Martin’s comments that failure to qualify would require New Zealand Football to reduce its spending on international friendlies in future did have the faint clang of doom about it. So too did Billy Harris’ column advocating $100 tickets for the New Zealand v Peru Intercontinental Playoff because it’d bring money into New Zealand Football as a softener if we failed to get past Peru.
Over the weekend I’ve been messaging back and forth with ITBOTN bossman Enzo Giordani about driving down to Wellington, what with flights rocketing up to $250 each way for the dates surrounding the qualifier on the 11th. At the same time, elsewhere, organising buying a few tickets together so some fellow Aucklanders with a keen interest in the beautiful game can all sit together. In 2013 tickets were $60 a head. Anything around that would do.
$95 + booking fee. So, a round $100. Bloody hell. That’s a 60% markup on 2013.
For comparison, the tickets in the Active Support section for Australia v Honduras at the same time is going to cost $35 + booking fee. So $40. The picture below includes the 10% discount members of Australia’s Football Family scheme gets (Yes, I’m a member. Shhh)
Now, I get it. There’s going to be one more of these playoffs in 2021 and that’ll be it. From then on, Gianni Infantino’s plans will see New Zealand qualify automatically (assuming we get through the OFC qualifying). This is a limited opportunity.
There’s also New Zealand Football’s pragmatism at play. This could be the last chance to make serious bank in a long time. The last games in Wellington and Auckland drew 10,000 people, which at modest $60 a head prices brought in a bit, but nothing near what a sellout stadium at these prices will. Does Andy Martin think we have a chance? Not at these prices.
It’s also interesting to compare these prices with Anthony Hudson’s appeal for supporters to make a lot more noise and get behind the team, while Andy Martin has asked supporters to create a hostile atmosphere. When announcing the ticket prices, Martin said;
“The demand for tickets for this game has been incredible and we feel we have priced it at a level where all football fans can be a part of this one-in-four year event,”
“We want to re-create an atmosphere like 2009 with everyone dressed in white. We need all of New Zealand behind the All Whites as they look to create history and qualify for the FIFA World Cup.”
Tell you one way to ensure you get a 2009 atmosphere Andy. Don’t skin your supporters for 60%+ more than you asked them to pay four years ago. These are the same people from 2013 and 2009, and their kids.
On atmosphere, at the recent qualifier against the Solomon Islands in Auckland the Active Support section (known as the White Noise) got into trouble after many people who’d bought tickets objected to supporters standing up and grouping together to make noise. The ACTIVE SUPPORT then were moved to the other side of the stadium by Red badge security.
Those objecting about supporters standing and making a noise had paid around $20 for their tickets (plus booking fee). It’s not too difficult to foresee those paying $100+ being even less inclined to having their view of the game blocked, which will do wonders for the hostility – just not aimed at the opposition. Roy Keane. Prawn sandwiches. All that.
I’m still buying a ticket though. Because it is a massive game, I do want to make my voice heard in the ground. At the same time I’ve seen friends drop out of going down to Wellington to support the All Whites because $95 + booking is too much on top of petrol and a 650km drive, or paying $400+ for a flight and accommodation on top of that.
I hope the game does sell out. I hope there’s a good atmosphere. But I feel for those who can’t make it now. They’re good supporters of the All Whites. But what New Zealand Football thinks is affordable prices them out.
I don’t blame them. I know who I do blame though.
Categories: All Whites
John Palethorpe lives in South Auckland which is very far away from Fratton Park and Champion Hill. Having been told there was no football in New Zealand, he was delighted to find that there is.