Australia vs US basketball match comes under probe scanner
Australian actor Russell Crowe watches match 1 of the Pre-FIBA World Cup series between Australia and the USA in Melbourne, Australia, Aug 22, 2019. EFE-EPA/SCOTT BARBOUR AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Patty Mills (L) of Australia in action against Donovan Mitchell (R) of the USA during match 1 of the Pre-FIBA World Cup series between Australia and the USA at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Aug 22, 2019. EFE-EPA/SCOTT BARBOUR AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Kemba Walker (2-R) of the USA in action during match 1 of the Pre-FIBA World Cup series between Australia and the USA at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Aug 22, 2019. EFE-EPA/SCOTT BARBOUR AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Sydney, Australia, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- Australian authorities said Friday they would probe allegations that some basketball fans were duped into buying tickets after being promised big NBA stars would be playing in an exhibition game between Australia and the United States.
Already disappointed with the lack of star power in the game played Thursday on a raised court to accommodate a large crowd, spectators have also complained of improper seating arrangements at the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne.
The investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will look into whether "people were mislead into buying tickets on the basis that certain superstar players were going to be playing when, in fact, they weren't, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims told EFE.
Sims said they would also investigate the allegations regarding the seating arrangements to find out if spectators on ground-level seats were able to watch the game properly.
Sims said he did not know how long the investigation could take or if the ACCC would file a lawsuit for breach of the consumer law although those behind the alleged violation could face a multi-million dollar fine.
Last year, the Australian parliament passed a law that imposes fines on entertainment companies of between AU$ 1.1 million ($743,160) to AU$ 10 million ($6.7 million), three times their profit or 10 percent of the volume of sales in the previous 12 months.
Thursday's game, which the US won 102-86, did not feature NBA stars such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry nor Australian star Ben Simmons, who has signed a multi-million dollar contract with the NBA team, Philadelphia 76ers.
Many of the 50,000 fans who turned up to watch the game filed complaints with the ACCC saying the game was played on a raised court, which prevented a section of the spectators from being able to view the match properly.
"$1500 a ticket for this view. AUS v USA. Jokes (sic) on me," Australian actor Russell Crow tweeted.
The ACCC said it would be investigating both the promoter, TEG Live, as well as the ticket sellers to get to the bottom of the matter.
Amid complaints from hundreds of spectators and an upcoming match on Saturday at the same venue, the organizers have begun refunding the ticket money to the spectators who have complained. EFE-EPA