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Restricted view: Eagles' stadium problem

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The stadium is still world-class, we just have some issues we need to deal with
Trevor Nisbett

HEADACHES moving existing West Coast members to Optus Stadium could mean some waiting-list fans might not know if they will be offered seats prior to the AFL season kicking off.

The Eagles have roughly 40,000 members to relocate from Domain Stadium but the process has been held-up due to issues arising from a significant number of restricted-viewing seats.

About 1000 seats at the state-of-the-art venue have impeded views of the field due to safety guards and stair railings.

That figure is higher than expected and West Coast has had to be relocate some existing members unhappy with their seats.

"We know there are now a number of seats that we would only sell as restricted viewing and we have to make sure we've got that right," CEO Trevor Nisbett told 6PR.

"That's caused us a number of delays because we've had to shift some people who have had priority seating and all of a sudden we've found out they're restricted-view seats."

 

The Eagles have only recently started contacting 'In the Wings' waitlist members in order to offer them reserved seats ahead of the March 25 season-opener against Sydney.

"I'm not even sure we'll have exhausted everything by the time the season starts, because it is a long process to get people to understand where they're sitting, and some people actually want to see the seats," Nisbett said.

"There's a difficult process to go through still to get everyone sorted in their seating for the year.

"It's taken a lot longer than we thought it would.

"The stadium is still world-class, we just have some issues we need to deal with."

An Optus Stadium spokesperson said viewing the action was "a primary focus" during the design process which involved all end users of the stadium, including football, cricket and rectangular sports.

"The sightlines at Optus Stadium have been benchmarked against Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, ensuring that all 60,000 seats have a clear view of the boundary line and a high ball, and maximised view of the arena overall," the spokesperson said.

"Traditionally at many other stadia concrete balustrading is utilised with metal rail tubing on top running horizontally, which can often create some form of viewing obstruction for certain people in certain seats.  

"At Optus Stadium glass balustrading was selected for the front of seats on levels two, three, four (suites) and five as it provides a more continuous view of the playing surface, particularly when compared to the concrete balustrading with metal rail tubing on top, provided at many other stadia. 

"To meet current safety standards, the glass balustrading is required to have steel reinforcement to support it. 

"Glass balustrading is seen as a far superior and innovative option compared with concrete balustrading that has been traditionally used at other stadia and ensures the safety of patrons seated at higher levels of the Stadium. 

"All Stadium hirers are responsible for determining the categories for their seats across the venue, the associated price points and ultimately the sale of the seats to consumers."

Not all fans on the Eagles' waitlist – estimated by the club to be about 30,000 supporters - will be offered reserved seats at the Burswood venue. 

About 10,000 seats have to be held over for general admission, tourist packages and stadium members, leaving roughly the same number for waitlist members.

Fremantle, which has a smaller membership base, is not facing the same problems as West Coast.

The Dockers have been able to shift all affected members or offer reduced prices for restricted-viewing seats.

Fremantle is also already selling tickets to some early-season matches, while the Eagles won't go on sale until next month due to their membership issues.