Contributed by: Rod Shaw
Questions are being raised about the future of AFL matches being hosted by Wellington.
Fewer than half of the 13,285 people who attended Wellington's AFL Anzac Day fixture paid face value for a ticket leaving its on-going future in jeopardy. However it would mirror the case for many promotional markets such as Western Sydney that many tickets in the initial seasons are ‘free and complimentaries’ to generate a following- particularly among the children in the region.
The Wellington city council is understood to have contributed $600,000 of ratepayer money to promote the game, but there was little public interest with the crowd down from 22,183 at the inaugural game in 2013.
"It's under review and hard questions are being asked about the return on investment to Wellington," said Deputy Mayor Justin Lester.
"It has the ability to be a centrepiece of next year's Anzac Day centenary celebrations, but a lot of work needs to be done.
"When it was introduced… it seems to have been a fairly clear case of over-promising and under-delivering. We want to change that. We have met with representatives from St Kilda and the AFL to make our concerns known and to review the situation."
"Whilst the crowd was down compared to last year, we're still very positive about the result given the impact of the school and Easter holiday period [which coincided with Anzac Day]," St Kilda representative Ben Davies said.
The facts are that where Anzac Day fell in relation to the NZ school holidays, the poor start to the year by the Brisbane Lions and the actual timeslot of the game will all have been factors.
The first factor is a calendar issue that will not arise in 2015, the next issue regarding Brisbane is about luck in any given year and the third factor about timeslot is the one that needs to be addressed. The game commences too late and goes for too long for families to attend in the evening.
Ideally the Wellington game should be the first game played on Anzac Day with the Collingwood/Essendon fixture to follow.
A review period of the fixture is due after 2015.
Read more: Annual AFL fixture in jeopardy
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