Govt puts brakes on bid to reveal Adelaide 500 ticket sales

The state government has shot down a push to require the South Australian Motorsport Board to disclose the number of tickets sold or given away for the revived Adelaide 500 race and other motoring events, claiming the information is commercially sensitive.

During the Upper House’s debate to re-establish the South Australian Motorsport Board – which passed today without division – Greens MLC Tammy Franks moved amendments to enshrine new reporting requirements for events under the Board’s purview.

This includes the Adelaide 500, which is set to run in December after Labor made a pre-election promise to bring the event back.

Franks’ amendments would have required the board to publish, within three months of a motorsport event finishing, the following:

  1. the total number of tickets sold or given away in relation to the motor sport event,
  2. a breakdown of the different types of ticket available in relation to the motor sport event, and the number of tickets actually sold or given away of each type,
  3. the total attendance at the motor sport event,
  4. any other information required by the regulations.

Attorney General Kyam Maher, speaking on behalf of the government, moved to strike out clauses one and two of Franks’ amendments, but allowed clauses three and four to stand.

“The reason for this… is that I’m advised that whilst the government is very keen on increasing transparency, it must do so in a way that does not lead to breaching commercial in confidence parts of any contract that’s entered into,” Maher said parliament.

The government’s push to strike out the ticket sale disclosure requirements was supported by both the Opposition and SA-Best and passed the Upper House without a division.

Franks said she was pleased the government had reached a compromise which will see the Adelaide 500’s total attendance made public, but was critical of the government claiming commercial confidence in ticket sales.

“This is pretty basic information that I do find available in other major events reports, and it is a level of transparency that I would think the public would expect,” she told parliament.

“I’m not sure how it really can be a breach of commercial in confidence to let people know how many tickets you sell, and at what price point those tickets were sold.”

She also suggested giving away freebie tickets would be an attempt to “make your event look perhaps better patronized than it might have otherwise been”.

“I feel like the South Australian public does need to know how many freebie [tickets] are given out to major events that they are heavily subsidizing, ”she said.

“I find the arguments that this (publishing ticket sales) might actually impact on other events… to be somewhat ludicrous.”

Earlier in the sitting, Maher told parliament the state government was in the “final stages” of appointing a ticketing agency for the Adelaide 500 and anticipates tickets to go on sale in August.

Ticket prices for the December 1-4 event are yet to be determined.

The state budget included $ 18m to carry out Labor’s pre-election commitment to bring the Adelaide 500 back to city streets after it was scrapped by the former Marshall Government in 2020.

The last time the four-day event was held in February 2020, it experienced its lowest attendance since 2003.

The Adelaide 500 has been locked in as the Supercars season finale until 2026.

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