All Black Tickets autumn international tickets from STIL not selling well

In previous years you had to know exactly when the All Black tickets from STIL were going on sale because you would be lucky to get onto the overloaded website and snag a few tickets before they all sold out.

This year however the tickets have been available for several days and only 3 of the available 18 packages have sold out. Possible reasons for this could include:

  • Credit crunch
  • Availability of tickets from the host nations like Italy and France
  • Packaging of tickets into bundles that fans didn’t want e.g. with the Barbarians ticket
  • STIL’s habit of whacking 50% onto ticket prices and the complete lack of transparency of where this money goes

Kiwis in Edinburgh

Last weekend Grant, Masha and I went up to Edinburgh for the wedding of Magnus and Katie. It was a fantastic Scottish and English styled wedding just north of the border with loads of bagpipes, kilts and whisky (we spoke English).

Mags and Katie cutting the cake at their wedding

On the Sunday we had some time to do so we went to the Royal Highland Show where we saw all manner of huge beasts ate great farm food and watched all manner of farming related food and events.

Wooly Bully at Royal Highland Fair

By pure coincidence Grant and I ran into a teacher from our high school who was teaching there while we were there. Miss (Carolyn) Aish runs a small business that sells Kiwi made products in the UK. In her own words:

KiwiKate brings to the UK possum, possum-merino, merino and sheepskin lovely, warm, practical wear from The Land of the Long White Cloud, Aoteoroa, NZ. Awesome.

If you are looking for great Kiwi gifts for people in the UK then you should visit http://www.kiwikate.co.uk/

The New Zealand Herald ran a story about the All Black tickets markup scam

The original post is here

A friend helped me get my blog post brought to the attention of the New Zealand Herald. They ran this story titled Fans put hard word on NZRU over agent’s ticket charges on the day of the final autumn international against England.

The thing that got me about the article is that when Ms Faisandier from STIL was asked where all the money went she couldn’t say.

Ms Faisandier said she could not say what percentage of the money went to the rugby union.

She told me on email that it was “about 50/50”. Strange she wasn’t prepared to make the same claim to a national newspaper.

The other thing that struck me was that when NZRU were asked they didn’t have a clue either! I wish we could all run our businesses in such a haphazard manner where letting millions of dollars of potential revenue slip through our fingers wasn’t such a big issue.

NZRU commercial manager Paul Dalton said he could not say what percentage of the money gained by STIL came back to the rugby union.

This quote astounded me because the Herald also had this story where they indicate that the NZRU financial situation isn’t that strong at the moment.

The NZRU is on track to post a small profit this year, a much improved situation from the one predicted six months ago.

You’d think that if they were that broke they’d be wondering if they could have had some of the millions of dollars that have been added to All Black tickets in the UK over the last few years.

Oh yeah and we crushed England 32 points to 6 so it was an excellent day to be a Kiwi.

All Blacks 32 England 6 Twickenham 2008

100% mark-up on All Black tickets brought from Sports Tickets International Limited

If your tickets have been marked up by STIL please leave the details in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Cam, Russ, The Giant Nun and Hubbers

Earlier this year Grant, Cam, Russ and I purchased tickets to the Ireland, Wales and England rugby tests against the All Black in the UK this November.

The purchase was made through Sports Tickets International Limited who are, according to their site, the Officially Licensed Match Ticket Company of the New Zealand Rugby Union (“NZRU”).

The total amount that my Visa was charged was 922.85 but when I picked up my tickets yesterday the face value of all 12 tickets came to a meagre ?632. This means that STIL added on a whopping 46% to the price of the tickets!

That is one hell of a mark-up!

This table shows the breakdown.

Test Face value for 4 tickets STIL cut Total
Cardiff ?200 92 ?292
Twickenham ?164 ?75.44 ?239.44
Dublin ?268 ?123.28 ?391.28
?632 ?290.72 ?922.72

Naturally I have emailed them to find out what is going on.

STIL have replied

STIL have added a handling fee to the face value of each ticket. This fee covers the cost of making this facility available (including website and software charges, travel, administration, wages and processing fees), and as a result the face value of the tickets will not equate with the amount charged. Any income, which remains at the end of this project, once all costs have been paid, will be returned to the NZRU to assist with the development of Rugby in New Zealand.

I have copied and pasted the below from the Terms & Conditions Page on the STIL website, hope this helps.

http://www.stilrugby.wb.gs/book-tickets.html

How much money do STIL make?

If we assume that our tickets are the average price then STIL is making roughly ?25 per ticket. If we also assume that they have 5000 tickets per game to sell then they will have 25000 tickets which means that they will take ?625,000 or 1,766,519 New Zealand Dollars (today’s exchange rate is 2.826) to perform the duties mentioned above.

I am pretty sure that I could do it all for less than that.

I have emailed them again and asked them how much money is returned to NZRU for the development of NZ rugby.

STIL have replied again. In answer to the preceding question they said:

The breakdown is about 50/50

So NZRU get nearly ONE MILLION NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS for the development of NZ rugby which is good. And it costs STIL nearly ONE MILLION NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS to sell Kiwis in the UK tickets to 5 games of rugby.

So I asked STIL

So you are saying that it costs nearly one million New Zealand dollars to provide tickets for New Zealand fans for 5 games of rugby?

And they threatened me with this email:

Carl

I am not sure where you are getting your figures from and where you are going with this, but we will not be following any further line of communication.

If you like, we will take you off our database, and recommend you purchase your tickets direct from the host unions in future.

Kind regards

Margaret Faisandier
Sports Tickets International Ltd
The Official match Ticket Licensee of the NZ Rugby Union

You know what I am getting at Margaret Faisandier, you are profiteering from loyal All Black fans!!!

What should be done?

Out of respect for the loyal fans and for the good of rugby in New Zealand in the future I recommend NZRU take the following actions:

1. NZRU should have a regular (two yearly?) and transparent tender process for the job of selling UK tour tickets to New Zealanders in Europe. This will minimise the cost and maximise any revenue for NZRU.

2. NZRU should make a clear statement about what percentage is to be added to the tickets and how much of that money goes to the development of New Zealand rugby. I am sure that most Kiwi fans won’t mind contributing to the ABs via their tickets especially given the economic pressures NZ faces from European teams. The key thing is that NZRU should be open and honest about it so that the fans don’t feel scammed or ripped off.

STOP THE PRESS!

A friend of a friend (NZ is a small country) helped me get this issue brought to the attention of New Zealand’s biggest daily newspaper. They ran this story titled Fans put hard word on NZRU over agent’s ticket charges on the eve of the All Black match against England at Twickenham.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here. NZRU clearly don’t know what is going on in their own back yard and millions of dollars have been wasted over the last few years leaving fans feeling bitter and ripped off (see the comments below). What will NZRU do?

Update for 2009

My friend from university got two England v All Blacks tickets for Twickenham from STIL Rugby and he paid ?100 for each.

When the tickets arrived they had a face value of ?50 each and they were in the worst part of the stadium!

How can this be viewed as anything other than a massive rip-off of loyal fans?

Update for All Black tickets in 2010

All Blacks autumn international tickets have gone on sale through STIL. The cheapest tickets available to the worst seats at Twickenham were roughly &#pound;100 meaning that STIL are still adding a 100% markup to All Black tickets. The STIL website terms and conditions now says this:

STIL have added a handling fee to the face value of each ticket. This fee covers the cost of making this facility available (including website and software charges, travel, administration, wages and processing fees), and as a result the face value of the tickets will not equate with the amount charged. Any income, which remains at the end of this project, once all costs have been paid, will be returned to the NZRU to assist with the development of Rugby in New Zealand.

But there still isn’t any indication as to how much of the hundreds of thousands of dollars added to All Black tickets by STIL are returned to the NZRU to assist with the development of Rugby in New Zealand.

Surely there should be an open and competitive tendering process to maximise the return for NZRU?

Helen Clark and Helen Clark

Last Friday I had the honour of being best man at my Kiwi mate Bundy’s wedding to an English girl called Laura Clark. As part of my duties I had to read the telegrams from people who couldn’t make the wedding. One of them included this cracker paragraph referring to the current very unpopular New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark:

First off, my apologies that I couldn’t make it up there to talk you out of it. You see, Helen Clarke likes my money. So you can blame her for my lack of funds, and the need to bypass time off so I can work even harder to get my own share of the pie. Vote National.

You know people are really feeling it when they start giving voting advice in telegrams to be read on the other side of the planet.

What was even funnier was that the bride’s mum’s first name is Helen (for her last name see above). The Kiwis in the crowd were pissing themselves.

I’ll write more on the wedding and add some photos in the next few days.

ANZAC DAWN SERVICE IN LONDON

This morning I got up at 4am and rode to Hyde Park Corner to participate in the Australian and New Zealand Army Core dawn service to commemorate the Aussie and Kiwi soldiers who have gone to war for their countries. The service starts at dawn to match the time that the ANZACs first hit Gallipoli beach in Turkey 93 years ago. Eight months of bitter military stalemate later 2721 New Zealand, 8709 Australian, 33,072 British, 10,000 French and 87,000 Turkish soldiers were dead.

New Zealand has had worse days while fighting for King and country but the Gallipoli campaign was the first.

In 1914, New Zealand’s population was just over one million. When the war began 124,211 men joined up and 100,444 went overseas. This was a staggering 10 percent of NZ’s population. 40% of all men aged between 18 and 45 signed up. Per capita New Zealand made the largest contribution to World War 1.

The last ANZAC dawn service I attended in London was on a hungover Saturday morning in 1998 just after I first arrived in London. That service was at an Australian memorial in Battersea Park and only a few dozen people turned up to hear legendary Australian orator Clive James speak. From memory he talked about how modern historian’s views about the Gallipoli campaign had changed and as he was saying what they had changed to a slow low flying plane flew over and I missed it all.

Today’s service at the new New Zealand memorial on Hyde Park Corner was attended by a much larger crowd as ANZAC commemorations seem to be undergoing something of a global revival. This service was a much more religious affair with lots of prayers and songs to Jesus the so called “prince of peace” etc. I guess it’s hard to tell young men to run towards machine guns if they don’t believe they will go to a better place when it inevitable goes badly wrong for them.

ANZAC Dawn Service Hyde Park Corner 2008

None of my Aussie/Kiwi mates who said they would come actually made the early start. Excuses included: sleeping, over-sleeping laziness trumping patriotism and just getting back from Nam.

Hi mum I’m on TV!!!

Mark Sainsbury and random Kiwis outside Buckingham Palace

Today I made and appearance on Close Up (click this to see the video while it is up) an evening current affairs show in NZ.

Yesterday Cam sent around an email asking if anyone was willing to get up at 6am to head down to Buckingham Palace to participate in a news show about Sir Edmund Hillary. I was the only one dumb enough to do it and was dutifully up at 6am and on my bike 5 minutes later. When we go there it turned out to be a piece about an English guy and a Kiwi girl who dated 27 years ago and are now getting back together. It was kinda sweet and at the same time kinda weird and I got the feeling they were a bit nuts.

My guess is that Mark Sainsbury (the TV presenter with the pink tie and huge soup strainer in the middle) got permission to head to London for the Sir Edmund Hillary memorial yesterday and they decided to make the most of the air fares by getting him to do some Kiwi interest stories for the rest of the week.

If this is Wednesday’s story I think it is going to be a slow news week indeed.

That being said though we met some nice people (of course they were nice they were Kiwis!) and had a few laughs.

Two of the nicest people we met were an English girl and a Kiwi guy who are married couple with two children together who have been together for 5 years. They recently applied for the husband to get a UK visa and UK Home Office said they were faking their marriage to get him a visa and the kids were just part of their elaborate plan. They have no right to appeal. That should have been the news story!

Passing of a Kiwi Legend

This morning the greatest living New Zealander passed away. Sir Edmund Hillary was an icon to millions of Kiwis all over the globe and will be sadly missed. Our Dear Leader called him a “heroic figure who not only ‘knocked off’ Everest but lived a life of determination, humility and generosity”. Well said.

KiwiBlog reports “He is also near unique for being featured on the bank notes of a western country, while still alive. Apart from monarchs, this is almost never done in case they later do something inappropriate.”

Edmund Hillary