Channel NewsAsia

Tickets-for-drinks promotion raises ire

Fans who bought tickets early for Saturday’s Juventus match are left feeling shortchanged after a promotion this week offering redemption of a pair of tickets to the game for just an S$18 purchase of soft drinks.

SINGAPORE: Organisers of the match between the Singapore Selection and Italian champions Juventus are expecting a crowd of 20,000 for the friendly on Saturday at the 55,000-seater National Stadium.

But while World Sport Group (WSG), the organisers, are confident their attendance target will be met, some fans who bought their tickets early are bristling at a promotion that appeared this week offering redemption of a pair of tickets to the game for just an S$18 purchase of 100PLUS or any other F&N participating brands, while tickets remain available.

Tickets for the match had gone on sale in late May, priced from S$45 to S$180 for adults and S$30 and S$45 for children. There was also an early-bird discount of 10 per cent tied to Italy’s participation in the 2014 World Cup, which remained for as long as the Azzurri stayed in the running in Brazil.

The ticket redemption promotion this week has raised the question as to whether ticket sales have been sluggish for the match scheduled for 6pm. The new English Premier League season also starts on Saturday with Manchester United playing Swansea at 7.45pm, with its live telecast expected to draw a large audience.

Mr Malcolm Thorpe, WSG’s vice-president of sports development and events, said he does not know the actual number of tickets sold thus far but that the numbers will pick up closer to match day.

As for the tickets-for-drinks promotion, he said: “The promotion drive from F&N has got nothing to do with us. They are one of the match’s many sponsors and they don’t tell us what they do for their promotional exercise. I mean, if you go to a supermarket and buy Product A yesterday, only to learn that there is a promotion for the item today, then what can we do about it?

“I can understand the feelings of those who have bought tickets earlier, but that’s something beyond us.”

Those who had bought their tickets before the promotion were announced say they feel cheated and have taken to social media to vent their frustrations.

Paul Hoe posted on Channel NewsAsia's Facebook page saying the "early birds (have) become angry birds". Another disgruntled fan, Mohsien Hanafi wrote that he is "really disgusted" and said he hopes those who took advantage of the promotion do not resell the tickets for profit.

Football fan Cheryl Lim, 29, bought her Category 4 tickets ($45) in June during the early-bird period and was angry when she found out about this week’s promotion.

“It feels unfair to me because some fans are saying they’ve redeemed two S$110 tickets for just an S$18 purchase,” she said. “It makes me wonder if the organisers could have exerted some control over how the promotion is done as they are practically giving the tickets away.”

Another fan, Mr Aidil Johari, 33, was looking forward to catching the match with his friend, having gone online to buy the S$45 tickets. The ticket-for-drinks promotion has left them stunned.

“One of my friends got his two tickets through the F&N promotion, and redeemed tickets priced at S$180,” he said. “So can you imagine how my friend and I feel? It’s like being cheated. And that’s the general feeling if you go online and read the comments posted on social media.

“The least WSG could do was to play fair to everyone, including those who have bought tickets earlier, and tell us that there will be a promotion coming up. Don’t have to tell us the details, but just keep the fans informed. How do you expect us to trust WSG in the future?”

Amelia Teo, who spent nearly S$200 on a pair of tickets, wrote to the Football Association of Singapore expressing unhappiness at WSG's explanation. “I have bought the tickets at ten times the price of the promotion. This is not simply a promotion item at the supermarket. We are talking about a difference of more than $150,” she wrote.

"I really hope that the organiser can consider giving a partial or full refund and to avoid such incidents again, I really appeal to them to lower the ticket prices of future events," she told Channel NewsAsia.

On the flip side, accountant Lin Wen Lan was pleased to have snared her tickets to Saturday’s game via the promotion. “When I learnt that S$18 worth of soft drinks would entitle me to redeem two tickets for free, I was so ecstatic I ran straight to the supermarket. Very worth it!”