AFL 2 years ago

Greed, Lies and Deception: The story of the SMA

  • Greed, Lies and Deception: The story of the SMA

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: A general view as spectators march to the Oval over the footbridge before the round four AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Hawthorn Hawks at Adelaide Oval on April 25, 2015 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

“You say it best, when you say nothing at all” Not just a hit for Ronan Keating but also what appears to be the modus operandi of those working within the SMA. As reported in the Advertiser this week food and drink prices at Adelaide Oval are set to jump again for the 2016 AFL season and Adelaide Oval will be the most expensive AFL stadium in the nation for food and beverage purchases. The silence and complete lack of transparency from the SMA certainly does them no favours with the general public. Based on history did we really expect anything less?

The issue of cost at Adelaide Oval is nothing new and came into question on the eve of the 2015 season when AFL boss Gillon McLachlan declared prices needed to drop. Adelaide Oval was ranked the most expensive stadium of thirteen AFL grounds audited. While other stadiums agreed to some catering concessions it was complete silence from the SMA. When the SMA finally did respond it was a predictable response that prices could not be lowered due to commercial arrangements already in place. But the SMA did advise prices would be addressed at the end of the 2015 season. Well credit to the SMA, they certainly have reviewed the prices as they said they would, and increased them again. 

According to a channel 9 news report this week the SMA management would not agree to an on air interview regarding the price rises. Instead we received the statement “Our prices are competitive with other stadiums” It would be interesting to know what other stadiums the SMA is referring too as this has been proven to be completely incorrect. SMA General Manager Darren Chandler was quoted last year saying “Our food and beverage offerings are very high quality and we have had a lot of positive feedback about them”   It would be interesting to know who provided this feedback? Quite possibly the SMA boardroom.

Certainly there are people more qualified than me to comment on the specific financial costings that exist at Adelaide Oval. My degree in Business Economics and experience within the finance industry certainly help formulate my opinion, but really my opinion is based on the simple fact I am a consumer. Ten minutes of research confirmed various pubs and cafes within walking distance of Adelaide Oval that offer ongoing meal specials, beverage specials and overall better value for money in all facets than what is on offer at Adelaide Oval. These venues will continue to become more appealing to patrons attending the match while prices at Adelaide Oval continue to head north.

Some fans will choose to bring food from home but the SMA fail to address the key point that costs at Adelaide Oval are simply unreasonable. Consumers are not expecting the cheapest price, they just want a fair price.  No one expects to buy a pie for 50 cents, but $5.30 is not the answer. Unless the question is what is a ridiculous amount to pay for a pie.

Out of boredom I spent some time today looking through old University textbooks and course notes. For the life of me I could not recall an Economics subject covering the topic "maximising profit= charging the most" or a subject called "bending over the consumer" But it appears the powers that be at the SMA did manage to complete the subjects I missed and used this expertise in the setting of prices.

Alcohol prices have been an ongoing issue and the Game Day Village has certainly been in the news in recent months. Who knows, the SMA might be pleasantly surprised with sales and profitability if they did lower the price to something more competitive. 

Unfortunately for the SMA John Olsen embarrassed himself when questioned on the 5AA sports show last night regarding the price rises. I would provide a link to the interview but 5AA has not posted audio online despite other interviews from the show being available. One could conclude that John Olsen and or the SMA do not want the interview being available given how  poorly simplistic questions were unable to be answered adequately.

Credit to host Mark Bickley who attempted to ask some probing questions but unfortunately he was met with unsatisfactory responses from Olsen. The explanation on buying power and increased labour costs were pitiful responses. After talking up the value in hot dogs  we can only assume Mr Olsen is unaware that a Barossa Fine Foods hot dog is $5 at Hindmarsh Stadium compared to $7.50 at the Oval. But perhaps the $2.50 difference for the same product at a sporting stadium located 5.8 km away falls under the SMA competitive pricing model.

Everybody wants the Adelaide Oval to be a success and acknowledge the huge cost associated with the redevelopment of the oval. Much of the cost has been worn by the State Government and tax payers.  The crowds  have certainly proven to be a success not only for football and cricket but other sports, concerts and special events .Pricing however needs to be done with a common sense approach, not a greed approach. 

I’ll be at Adelaide Oval in two weeks and would have considered a hot pie and bucket of chips. A footy tradition that individuals and families have enjoyed for generations. Unfortunately the cost for a day at the football is getting further and further away from the average punter. My plans to have a pie at the footy will most likely be on the proviso a lotto win comes my way between now and then.

Thank you SMA.

www.liamsheedy.com

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