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Earlier this season I wrote about consumer costs at Adelaide Oval (see above) after an audit revealed it was the most expensive ground in the AFL for food and beverage purchases. I take no satisfaction in writing about this topic again because it reinforces everything we already know about the SMA. They are thieves and their latest conduct confirms they view the general public as nothing more than walking ATM machines.
Everyone understands the upgrade to Adelaide Oval was an expensive exercise to undertake and no one is advocating minimal cost for catered items at the ground. What is being advocated for is something resembling fair cost and the SMA simply doesn’t get it.
The SMA remained silent for so long this year in the wake of criticism about consumer costs and when they finally did respond publicly tried to re-assure the public that food and beverage costs would be reviewed at the end of the football season when certain commercial arrangements had expired.
The SMA actually tried to make it sound like they would love to decrease prices on the spot but unfortunately it was too difficult to alter those pesky commercial deals. But no need to panic, any change in cost to the public at Adelaide Oval would be a transparent process moving forward we were lead to believe. What a surprise, this did not occur.
Reviewing costs at the end of the season was simply code for “Let’s tell people we will review things later to get them off our back now” It is staggering to try and comprehend the thought process of the SMA bigwigs before they reached the conclusion to raise prices. People are not fools, they are well aware the costs at Adelaide Oval are the most expensive in the land and fans have been voicing this concern for considerable time.
Do Port Adelaide fans frequent the Game Day Village before and after matches for no reason? Why do so many fans leave the venue and not attend public after match functions at the ground? Paying half the cost for a beer at a location next door to the Oval might have something to do with it. Did the SMA seriously think by saying nothing and just raising the already exorbitant prices that no one would actually notice? A genius and cunning ploy by the SMA brains trust.
The price hikes approved and in place for the cricket this week and beyond included an increased cost for soft drinks, pies and pasties, chips and a beer now costing an absolutely absurd $9.20. A price that the SMA will argue is “competitively priced” which seems to be a buzz word they enjoy to sprout.
Throughout this ordeal the State Government has generally remained tight lipped. Given the amount of funding the Government has invested into the stadium they are well qualified to pass comment and Premier Jay Weatherill certainly made his views clear earlier in the week. "We spent a lot of money building this oval, we spend a lot of money attracting acts to it.We also want to make sure that the people that come to the games and the events get to enjoy it without being fleeced."
While the prices at Adelaide Oval verge on ridiculous the real winners will continue to be the surrounding pubs and cafes in the City and North Adelaide. Many businesses have already enjoyed an increase in revenue thanks to events at the oval and they can certainly expect increased patronage to continue.
Many pubs offer ongoing meal and drink specials and even if they choose not to, the retail prices are still more financially viable than inside Adelaide Oval. Prices that appeal to those on tighter budgets and also those who simply don’t like to be blatantly ripped off.
So that now brings us to what we can call The SMA miracle. The price rises are no longer going to occur! It is amazing the SMA has managed to alter these commercial arrangements that were apparently so impossible to previously change. People can form their own conclusions from the release on the Adelaide Oval website http://www.adelaideoval.com.au/newsdetail/16/25084/adelaide-oval-joins-with-iconic-sa-brands-to-lower-food-and-drink-prices.aspx
I just need a minute to compose myself because reading such words in the release as “reflecting the SMA commitment” is difficult to digest with a straight face. The general public do not need to be patronised and we do not need to be told that $8.90 instead of $9.20 for a West End is an example of how much the SMA really care. $8.90 was a rip off this year and it will still be a rip off next year.
The most disappointing aspect that has got somewhat lost in translation is everyone wants Adelaide Oval to be successful and people want to invest money at the ground supporting it as much as possible. The SMA has obviously done their cost benefit analysis and supply and demand equilibrium to arrive at the various prices they believe is required to maximise profit and what is needed to maintain the day to day costs and oval maintenance. But the SMA might just be surprised at their profitability column if more compromises are made on some of the item costs.
The rejuvenation of Adelaide Oval has been one of the best things to happen in South Australia for a long time. Whether you attend the cricket, football, concerts or other special events. Wonderful memories are being forged and everyone hopes there are plenty more to come. Let’s just hope the SMA can get on the same page as the patrons who attend and want to support Adelaide Oval because fans are still the most important commodity of all.