‘It hasn’t reverted back to the way the MCC has been all my life’: MCC ticketing concerns members

The Melbourne Cricket Club will continue to use a reserved seat ticketing system for major AFL matches in the Members Reserve at the MCG, despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions over the weekend.

The “fully ticketed” system, which was first introduced due to COVID-19, requires all members to reserve a seat to obtain entry to the reserve.

The MCC will continue with a reserve seat system for members in certain blockbuster matches.Credit:Joe Armao

Traditionally, the MCC has used a walk-up system that allows full and restricted members general access to most of the MCC section, allowing them to claim a seat on the day.

The Anzac eve match between Melbourne and Richmond and the Anzac Day game between Essendon and Collingwood both used the “fully ticketed” system.

Simon Friend, a 43-year MCC member, said “fully ticketed” matches meant older members missed out on games they would normally attend, with tickets being snapped up earlier in the week.

“Since COVID everything has changed and it has reverted to Ticketek. But it hasn’t reverted back to the way the MCC has been all my life: Scan in with your membership card,” Friend said.

In a letter to members earlier this year, MCC president Michael Happell said the continuation of the fully ticketed system for large matches ensured members were not left disappointed if they could not find a seat.

“This is a fundamental change that hopefully allows for the tradition of walking up to remain for the great majority of matches, while ensuring we manage expectations for matches that will naturally draw a larger crowd,” he said.

“Security, health and safety have been fundamental drivers of this approach.”

Friend also said the number of guest passes and visitor tickets permitted allowed non-members to take the place of fee-paying members in significant matches.

“The real thing that bugs me is that I pay my membership fee and I can’t get in,” he said.

The MCC allows each member to purchase up to four visitor tickets for Category 1 games such as the Queen’s Birthday match between Melbourne and Collingwood.

However, it limits visitor tickets to only two per member on Anzac Day.

Friend said there was nothing wrong with members buying tickets for their friends, but said existing members need to be prioritised more.

The MCC has also been struggling with hospitality staff shortages, resulting in long queues for food and beverages in the opening rounds of the AFL season.

However, MCC CEO Stuart Fox said in a letter to members earlier this month that staffing numbers were improving and further outlets were beginning to open.

Fox said the reserve was using plastic cups, limiting certain bars to takeaway or dwell-only and reducing dining room capacity to limit waiting times.

“We agree these are not ideal and will only be short-term and temporary solutions, but we wanted to be transparent about the measures currently in place,” Fox said.

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