When Bulldogs member Heba Raad queued for NRL grand final tickets yesterday, she was able to secure 20 passes to league's biggest match for $1600.
But Canterbury fans who don't already have a ticket for the final on Sunday are likely to have to spend considerably more. The NRL expected the 14,000 tickets reserved for members of the Storm and the Bulldogs to sell out overnight, leaving supporters facing the prospect of buying from scalpers.
Two seats near the coach's box traded yesterday for nearly $3000 on eBay and now many sellers on the website are holding out for $1000 a ticket. The official price of adult tickets was between $65 and $200.
The practice of selling tickets for inflated prices at the ground is illegal. But trading them for a profit online is a breach only of the conditions of the original sale.
The only threat the NRL can make against online scalpers is to cancel the tickets without a refund if it is made aware of the barcode on the ticket.
For its part, the NRL has tried to prevent such trade by monitoring online ticket sales for the grand final and cancelling multiple orders from the same credit cards.
Sporting venues have only limited control of tickets but ANZ Stadium management said yesterday that it would assist the NRL in stamping out scalpers.
''We'll work to identify them and notify Sydney Olympic Park authorities and the police. There's an expectation with grand final week that there will be some people scalping tickets,'' a stadium spokesman said.
Allocations for corporate partners, stadium members and private boxes left only 50,000 seats available to the general public since tickets went on sale in July. Canterbury members bought more than 13,000 of the allocation, as the end to an eight-year grand final drought sparked a strong demand for tickets, while 5500 Storm fans will travel from Victoria.
Meanwhile, the Department of Planning and Community Development in Victoria has taken a tough stance against scalpers before the AFL grand final to be held in Melbourne and warned that they face big fines if caught. Individuals caught illegally selling tickets can be fined $8000.