Patersons curse for AFL fans
Patersons curse for AFL fans

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett has warned that Patersons Stadium needs an injection of maintenance funds over the next five years to maintain crowds at big games.

Speaking after the Eagles-North Melbourne elimination final struggled to sell-out status - a rare struggle at any West Coast game let alone a final - Nisbett said annual club surveys revealed a high level of discontent with facilities at the ground and with women's toilets in particular.

Crowds at AFL matches have dropped nationally this season, a trend attributed partly to live telecasts by Foxtel.

West Coast crowd numbers have increased slightly.

The Eagles, who have a membership waiting list, have an active ticket resale plan in place for members who are not attending games.

The impact at Fremantle games has been more marked, with an average crowd of 36,572 in 2010, 34,400 in 2011 and 33,386 this year.

Nisbett said higher ticket prices and different ticketing arrangements in place for an AFL final were factors in slower-than-usual ticket sales.

But he added: "There is no doubt that the stadium amenity is starting to bite. I think live telecasts against the gate are good. There are still people that can experience the game on television or come along.

"People with tickets can put their tickets on resale and they will get used to doing that if they are not going to attend, so that is just a change in landscape. But in general terms, I think it is the stadium amenity. We have got to do a fair bit of work on the stadium yet.

"I think they (the State Government and WA Football Commission) are well aware that there needs to be something put in place to try and maintain the stadium, keep it at a reasonable level for the next five or six years."

Toilets, female toilets in particular, were the most complained about problem, Nisbett said.

"The comfort of seats, and all of the rest of it, people will put up with but what they find difficult is the toilet facilities, bathroom facilities, the difficulty getting to food, the cost of food," he said.

"They are the sorts of things that really annoy our members."

The West Australian

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