Football Or AC/DC?

In what’s shaping up to be a classic case of what might happen when an irresistible force meets an immovable object, two great Australian institutions are squabbling over the use of a stadium in February – ACDC and professional football.

The conflict is over three AC/DC dates at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium – February 11, 13 and 15 of next year – the same time period the Australian Football League claims it has rights to use the stadium.

Photo: AP Photo
Telenor Arena, Fornebu, Norway

The venue dustup came to light yesterday when the Melbourne Herald Sun reported the AFL wrote to Etihad Stadium head Ian Collins asking about the scheduling conflict. The Herald Sun also reported a “limited number of scheduling options for next year’s NAB Cup” made the AFL even more determined to use the stadium.

But the promoter presenting the AC/DC concerts is adamant about not moving the shows to another venue.

“We can’t move the shows,” said promoter Garry Van Egmond. “It would be impossible.”

How well are the shows selling? Well, it is Australia, and the band is AC/DC. According to the Herald Sun, two of the three dates are already sold out, and the third is reportedly selling so well there’s talk of a fourth date. So you can understand why the promoter says it’s “impossible” to move the shows.

“We’ve sold 180,000 tickets in Melbourne. People have bought seats in certain areas. You can’t just re-create that anywhere else, wherever it may be,” Van Egmond told the newspaper. “Our concern is the punters who bought the tickets. But I’m not concerned, we’ve got a signed contract for the shows at Etihad Stadium.”

But the AFL has a signed contract too. One the league claims gives it priority status for using the stadium during that time period.

“This has nothing to do with AC/DC.” AFL’s chief broadcasting and commercial exec Gillon McLachlan told the newspaper. “We’ve had a contract, it’s a long-standing, very clear agreement.”

One of the odder particulars of this brouhaha is that promoter Van Egmond didn’t learn about the problem until he read the original Herald Sun article about the scheduling dilemma. The promoter said the news was “an absolute shock” for him.

“What I can’t understand is, we’ve been on sale for 2 ½ weeks,” Van Egmond said. “Why, all of a sudden, have they decided now they want to move the shows?”

Click here for yesterday’s Melbourne Herald Sun article (dated June 11).

Click here for today’s Melbourne Herald Sun article (dated June 12).