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Netball South has put the fans first and will take a sizeable financial hit because of its stance.
A large portion of the Steel’s 800 season-ticket-holders are still waiting for refunds for the cancelled ANZ Premiership games, called off due to Covid-19.
Ticketing company Ticket Rocket is responsible for refunds and has run into financial issues. But with so many Steel supporters still out of pocket, the Netball South board felt it needed to make a gesture of goodwill.
It has decided fans who are still waiting for refunds will receive free tickets for the Steel’s games against the Mystics and the Pulse in Invercargill next week.
It will leave a $24,000 hole in the budget but Netball South chief executive Lana Winders felt it was the right thing to do.
"It has been frustrating for us to see the delays for the refunds for our VIP members who bought tickets to attend our full season of home games for the initial competition," she said.
"We were working really hard ... to see if we could get those refunds happening so we could put the refunds together with the purchase of their tickets for the modified home season.
"But as time wore on it became obvious to us it wasn’t going to be possible. So we had to bite the bullet."
The board was uncomfortable with charging the team’s loyal fan-base to attend the rescheduled home games.
"That just did not sit well with us. At the end of the day we will take a financial hit but it is about the bigger picture."
The association can ill-afford another financial blow in what has been a tough year.
Netball South constantly reviewed its expenditure and monitored its cash flow carefully during the hiatus for Covid-19.
Staff dropped to 80% income for three months and only recently resumed normal service.
Winders described it as "a roller-coaster financially" and she expected 2021 would be another challenging year as the country struggled with the ramifications of the global pandemic.
It was important to keep the goodwill of the netball community, many of whom had been supporting the team since its inception in 2008.