Eagles, Dockers to lose seats

Kent Acott
Room to view: Seats could be available for the general public. Illustration: WA Govt

Tourism Minister Kim Hames has confirmed the State Government is looking to set aside about 10,000 seats in the new football stadium for the general public.

Dr Hames told a Tourism Council breakfast yesterday that "10,000 seats or so" would be "quarantined" from the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers, making them unavailable for club members.

He also said some of the seats would be available in tourism packages aimed at interstate and regional visitors. It is understood final details about seat allocations are still being finalised and a spokesman for West Coast said the club had not been told officially about a decision on allocations for the general public.

This month Premier Colin Barnett said it was important that good-quality seats be made available for visiting fans when the stadium opened in 2018.

He said he had informal talks with former Victorian premier and former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire about ensuring enough seats were available for interstate visitors.

Research for the Tourism Council this year found the stadium at Burswood could provide a multimillion-dollar economic windfall for Perth - including 1390 new jobs - but only if enough interstate and international visitors could be guaranteed tickets.

The economic impact assessment by consultants AEC Group calculated that at least 10,000 of the stadium's 60,000 seats needed to be available for general admission tickets. And, of those, 2000 seats should be for interstate or overseas visitors.

Dr Hames said the stadium would be a great opportunity for tourism in WA but 2018 was "not that far away" and it was important to start booking events other than AFL matches.

Tourism Australia managing director John O'Sullivan has said the stadium will bring significant tourism benefits to Perth.

"Nowadays, big events mean big business," Mr O'Sullivan said. "We know that about 15 per cent of all our international visitors, that's around 900,000 people, attend a cultural or sporting event during their trip. These visitors typically stay longer and spend more than twice the average of all international visitors."

Comment on the proposed seating allocation was also sought from the Fremantle Dockers but they referred inquiries to the WA Football Commission.