Put fans before profit

Saru should slash the price of Test tickets if they’re serious about growing the game.

The governing body recently sent the Boks to Soweto for a coaching clinic, but how many of those township kids will ever get to see a Tri-Nations match live? Peter de Villiers talks about “taking the game to the people” but how many of “the people” will be at Newlands on Saturday, or Kings Park and Ellis Park over the next few weeks?

A ticket for the Tri-Nations match between the Boks and Wallabies in Durban costs R425 (almost the same as a month’s subscription to DStv). Sure, there are a few scholar tickets available for behind the posts, at R120 each, but that constitutes just 1% of the stadium capacity. If you are a family of four, you will have to pay around R1,000 (if you can get scholar tickets) or R1,700 (if you can’t).

Throw in the petrol you need to get to the game (R50), parking (R30), a programme (R20) and food and drink (R200), and you’re looking at around R2,000 for an afternoon’s entertainment.

Surely only the tickets right on the halfway line (prime position) should be allowed to be sold for R425? Those in poorer viewing positions should go for R200 or less, with standing/bench positions behind the posts sold for R20 (the price of a ticket to a Bafana Bafana game). Or why not reserve a few dozen seats for township kids – and bus them to the game for free (as they did for the Argentina game last week). You’d get them hooked on rugby for life.

By alienating the lower and middle class, Saru and the host unions are making a mockery of attempts to get more black South Africans involved in the game. At the moment, there are more black ice-cream sellers at Bok matches than fans (especially at a stadium like Loftus).

Yes, unions need to make a profit from the game, but they also have a social responsibility.

By Simon Borchardt