The Melbourne Cricket Club has introduced a new seating policy which will make members seats available to the public if not snapped up prior to marquee AFL matches at the MCG.
Last year’s Preliminary Final between Collingwood and Richmond attracted a crowd of 94,559 – about 5,500 short of capacity – with noticeable areas of empty seats in level four of the MCC members. The resulting criticism seems to have prompted the new policy.
In an email sent to members on Friday, the MCC said after lengthy consideration, they’ll make changes to the seating plan for the upcoming AFL season and introduce the new policy. Additional seating will now reserved on level four for all AFL matches while for blockbuster games, all seating on level four in the members enclosure may be allocated as reserved seating with pre-purchased tickets required.
The MCC signed a landmark agreement with the AFL and the Victorian Government in 2018 to host Home and Away matches and the AFL Grand Final at the MCG until at least at 2057.
A requirement of this agreement is that the MCC will use its best endeavours to fill the MCC Reserve for designated marquee games, including the season opener, Anzac Eve, Anzac Day, Dreamtime at the 'G and the Finals Series.
For these games where general public tickets have been sold out in advance, the MCC will employ a proactive match day strategy to ensure the MCC Reserve is filled.
If it appears the members reserve won’t reach capacity, tickets will be made available to provisional members and more visitor tickets will be made available for sale.
If the MCC members reserve still appears unlikely to be at capacity, tickets will then be made available to the general public to fill the empty seats.
The new policy may be seen as a controversial one amongst the 130,000 MCC Members, who’ve waited some 20 years on a waiting list to become a member, pay annual fees just short of $700, and are used to walking up to big events. The new policy means they may now be required to pre-purchase reserved seats (at an additional cost) to ensure they gain entry.
The 2019 AFL season gets underway on March 21 with Carlton hosting Richmond at the MCG.