LETTER OF THE DAY - Champs ticket racket
THE EDITOR, Sir:
As soon as Champs ends, I start looking forward to next year's competition. One of the things I resolve to do is make an even greater effort to ensure that this time I get the seat I want in the grandstands.
Last year, I baked in the bleachers because I was unable to get a grandstand ticket, which has been my greatest challenge for the past three years.
On Monday, I went to the Stadium ticket office. Yes, the office was open, but there were no tickets. One sad-looking man gave me the news. But he became cheerful in a jiffy as he showed me a large bundle of tickets - maybe about 40 - and told me that he had tickets for sale. The official price of the tickets was $2,000 each, but he was selling them for $4,000 each. Stunned, I decided to go home to recover and do some serious arithmetic.
If the tickets are bought 'in blocks' before they are available to the public, the organisers must know who the purchasers are. If 5,000 tickets are resold at 100 per cent profit for the two days - Friday and Saturday - the take is $35 million. That is a cool $17.5 million profit.
Who is benefiting from the 'block' bonanza? Today's newspaper quotes some official - no doubt with a straight face - lamenting the presence of scalpers and bemoaning what she described as the difficulty in controlling the practice. But this has nothing to do with a few scalpers who buy three or four tickets for resale. It is a well-organised racket!
It's not just that the organisers are exposing us to this deliberate rape of our pockets. Since we are now getting our tickets from strange men on the streets, how long before some enterprising person decides to print another 3,000?
Have these persons describing themselves as 'organisers' stopped to think about the dangers being faced by the sporting public and their role in this?
I have long ago formed the view that our athletics has flourished not because of those in charge but in spite of them. This year, I will be watching my team on television, JPS permitting.
I am, etc.,