2 Jul 2015

Cut out the scalper bleating, faux fans

4:16 pm on 2 July 2015

OPINION: Why are you surprised that the Super Rugby final sold out in a minute?

Unless you've never been to a highly-anticipated sporting event, you should know that this often happens.

Hurricanes' Ma'a Nonu runs the ball during the Super Rugby Semi Final, Hurricanes v Brumbies.

The Hurricanes' Ma'a Nonu runs the ball during the Super Rugby semi-final versus the Brumbies. Photo: Photosport

If you haven't been to a major sporting event before, or at least not in a while, you're a 'bandwagon fan'. Your outrage over ticket prices is offset by the fact that you've only bothered to support your team in the last few weeks.

These are people who have ignored the fact that the Hurricanes have, no matter what happens on Saturday night, had their best season ever.

Wellingtonians even had the luxury of letting the 'Canes prove that to them in the first six games (all of which they won), when they played at Westpac Stadium.

The best regular season crowd they got was against the Crusaders, which was around 17,000 - only half full.

Where were you then? The Wellington Rugby Football Union played its part - ticket prices have been very reasonable all season.

If you really are a 'grassroots' supporter, you'd be involved in a rugby club, and they all get first crack at tickets before they go on sale to the public.

So you want tickets but don't want to buy them off scalpers? I'm no economics expert but buying things and selling them at a higher price is also known as 'the way the world works'. Well, the Western world anyway.

I suppose you're also against buying investment property? Someone managed to get in quicker than you, hard luck, but that's life.

To the 'heroes' who were placing multi-million dollar bids on Trade Me, well done. All you've accomplished is potentially making sure those tickets don't get used by anyone.

If someone wants to stump up a couple of hundred bucks to go to the game, that tells me they're an immeasurably bigger fan than a keyboard warrior with an 'if I can't have it, nobody can' attitude.

Scalpers are a fact of life. The only way to stop them is to raise the original sale price to a level where anyone on-selling them won't make a profit. Who wants that?

Maybe the problem is that people who are used to getting what they want all the time - the middle and upper class - all of a sudden find themselves in the same boat as everyone else, which is in a world that is fundamentally unfair.

All of a sudden they're affected and so it becomes an issue.

My advice to anyone who missed out on tickets? Keep trying. There are 35,000 seats in Westpac Stadium. If you really want to go, you'll find a way.

It might be through a rugby club, through a business, through whatever. If nothing else, it'll prove the commitment you have to your team.

If it wasn't for scalpers, I wouldn't have been able to see a lot of sports events that have been worth far, far more than the inflated price I paid for tickets.

I am aware that this may look like a glowing endorsement of free-market economics, but we're talking about a game of rugby here, nothing more.

Even if you don't get a ticket, you can still watch it on TV, support your team, be happy when if they win, or sad if they lose.

And look on the bright side, if you go to a pub at least you don't have to drink warm beer out of a plastic bottle.

Jamie Wall is a writer for RugbyWrapUp.com, a US-based site that covers the game worldwide. He's played his whole life, has ridden the emotional roller-coaster of being a Wellington supporter and once got to take the Ranfurly Shield home.