The cost of food and drink at Adelaide Oval is likely to go up again, with the Stadium Management Authority (SMA) saying poor performances by both local AFL teams are partly to blame.
- Football and cricket attendance at Adelaide Oval dropped significantly over the past year
- Poor performances by the Crows and Power, and bad weather, have been blamed
- The Government says the decline strengthens the business case for a controversial hotel
The SMA revealed the pending price increase at a parliamentary committee set up to probe a controversial $42 million luxury hotel development at the ground.
The authority’s chair, former South Australian governor Kevin Scarce, told the committee while a final decision had not been made, price rises would be kept to a minimum, with details to be announced in November.
“Numbers go up and down depending on timing, performance,” he said.
“My expectation is that any increase in price will be well below the costs charged by our suppliers.”
Rear Admiral Scarce said prices at the oval remained competitive compared to similar venues, pointing out a full-strength beer at the Gabba cost $10.30, while in Adelaide it is $9.50.
According to an AFL price guide provided to the committee by the SMA, the oval has the most expensive pies of any stadium, but has the cheapest hot dogs, coffee and small soft drinks.
While the Gabba has the most expensive beer, the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) leads the pack in most other categories.
It was revealed that part of the cost pressure came down to a significant drop in attendance at cricket and football matches at the oval this year, with Adelaide and Port Adelaide both failing to make the AFL finals.
Rear Admiral Scarce said attendance at AFL matches dropped by 50,000 over the course of the season, Big Bash League crowds were down about 11,000 per match, and last December’s cricket Test against India drew 90,000 fewer patrons than the Ashes.
He blamed poor performances by the Crows and the Power, along with bad weather, for the drop in football attendances, saying the oval had already cut staff through natural attrition to rein in costs.
Decline highlights need for hotel, Government says
Beer, soft drink and food prices at Adelaide Oval have been a constant source of frustration for fans, with then premier Jay Weatherill accusing the SMA of “fleecing” supporters in 2016.
“I can’t comment on what the pricing will be but I can say that we are absolutely aware of the issue of food and beverage pricing,” SMA CEO Andrew Daniels said.
“I’m sorry that they pay increases, I have to pay increases, everybody has to pay increases as costs go up.
“The reality is a fabulous asset like the Adelaide Oval is incredibly expensive to maintain, to run, to upkeep.”
However, Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said prices were already unaffordable and future rises would drive more people away.
“Rather than blaming the weather or blaming the performance of our two AFL teams, maybe the SMA should be asking families whether $50 for a round of drinks and some hot chips is too much,” he said.
“It’s no wonder people are choosing to go down to the supermarket and sit at home on the couch and watch the football rather than come to Adelaide Oval.”
Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said the decline in attendances over the past 12 months strengthened the business case for the hotel.
“This hotel will help to provide a better financial position for the oval,” he said.
“This is a great asset but it does have some frailties … we cannot continue to rely on record crowds to make sure that the oval functions properly.”
Rear Admiral Scarce told the committee construction was on track for to be completed next July, and start taking bookings in September.
He said fluctuations in attendance were only to be expected, and helped to illustrate why the SMA has decided to build the hotel.
“This is why it’s so important to have a diverse revenue stream so that you can match those periods of down with constant revenue,” he said.