This is the first State of Origin series to feature two games in Brisbane since 2011. And it appears that the Queensland Rugby League have sought to recoup money from not having had two games in a series since then, by jacking up prices for tickets.
This decision has drawn the ire of not only fans, but also Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga and Hall of Famer Wally Lewis.
Lewis said that the prices have pushed fans away, "A lot of them can't afford to go along to the game."
While the cheapest tickets sell for $80 (which is $50 more than most similar tickets to regular NRL season games) they have all been exhausted, and some 8,000 odd tickets remain unsold, the cheapest of these cost $220.
For a game that championed the working class from its birth, the QRL has sought to push those very people away. Given that there is a very affordable alternative to watch the game (at home on TV for free), it is utter madness to charge through the nose for tickets to the game.
What the QRL has done is blatantly stupid.
And it's for this reason alone that there should only be one game in Brisbane and one game in Sydney every year. Melbourne has proven to be a very viable third venue and has consistently had very strong crowd numbers over recent years.
While NSW officials have previously hinted that Melbourne is more pro-Queensland, the fact remains that it is a neutral venue and having three games in three different cities ensures that you will always get three sell-outs and you will be making the game available to a much larger number of fans.
Which is what the game should be doing, not trying to squire as much money as possible from the fans. Without the fans, there is no money.
As Lewis also said, "It's really quite an embarrassing moment for the Queensland Rugby League." Meninga also called the price hikes "extremely disappointing." It is now being suggested that some tickets will be given away to ensure that there are no empty seats.
Last year the City v Country game at Coffs Harbour received massive criticism over exorbitant ticket prices, which saw a miserly crowd of 4,645 attend the match. The NRL corrected this issue this year. The fact that this incident was completely overlooked by the QRL is very poor indeed.
Take the fans for granted at your own peril.Like