A multi-millionaire pub baron has defeated a prime-time radio host in a tense on-air dispute over the cost of beer at a new, state-of-the-art football stadium.
Jim Wilson, Drive host at 2GB, tried to hammer Justin Hemmes over the cost of beer at Sydney Football Stadium, which reopened last month after a four-year $828million redevelopment.
Hemmes’ Merivale group now operates the bar at the stadium known commercially as the Allianz Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Australia’s billionaire pub baron Justin Hemmes has defeated a prime-time radio host in a fiery on-air dispute over the cost of beer at a state-of-the-art football stadium
2GB Drive host Jim Wilson tried to hammer Justin Hemmes over the cost of beer at Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, which reopened last month after a four-year refurbishment
Wilson tried to outwit Hemmes by “doing a little research before he went on air” by comparing the price of beer at the stadium to discount liquor supermarket catalog Dan Murphy’s.
Beer prices at the stadium start at $9.30 for a light beer, with the cheapest full ale starting at $10.20 for a Toohey’s New.
Players can pay $13.40 for a premium Stone & Wood.
Wilson called the prices “exorbitant” and berated Hemmes for “making it affordable”.
“Well, it’s not an exaggeration,” Hemmes shot back, pointing out that Toohey’s price at the stadium is only a dollar more than in many pubs.
He added that Stone & Wood was the most popular beer during the first three games at the stadium – a Roosters vs. Rabbitohs NRL game, a Wallabies Test and a Matildas soccer game.
Wilson wanted to know what Hemmes pays to buy the beers sold at the stadium.
“I just did a little research before I go on the air,” Wilson added.
“Toohey is new for $10.20 [but at] Dan Murphy’s six packs are $19.99, $3.33 per can, or buy them separately from Dan Murphys for $4.19 per can.’
Hemmes politely tried to explain the difference between a stadium bar and a discount liquor chain, but Wilson didn’t take it.
“Just let me finish, mate,” Wilson said.
“I understand you have to pitch things up a bit, but $10.20 a can in the store, but $4 in the store and the same [mark-up] with Stone & Wood for almost $14 a can of beer, that’s why my audience is scratching their heads, Justin.
Hemmes, a veteran who has been running pubs for over 30 years, concluded with a careful explanation of why he got it all wrong.
“Okay, Jim, that’s not a fair comparison,” he began.
“I’m sorry, you’re talking about very different businesses, completely different business models. You can’t compare a Dan Murphy’s to an operation in the stadium.”
Hemmes claimed Toohey’s New in Sydney’s revamped football stadium costs just $1 more than it does in a pub
Wilson attempted to outsmart Hemmes by “doing a little research before going on air” by comparing the price of beer at the stadium to the catalog of liquor store Dan Murphy’s
He pointed out that a large liquor store often trades at least 12 hours a day, 361 days a year with a handful of employees.
In comparison, a stadium is only allowed to sell alcohol for “two to three hours” on 40 matchdays and has to pay between 650 and 1,000 employees.
“You can’t compare a seven day, 12 to 14 hour operation to a stadium… it’s like comparing the price in Thailand to the price of beer in Australia, it’s a completely different cost structure and not a fair comparison.”
Wilson then claimed listeners complained about the cost of hot dogs and sodas at the stadium — $5.50 and $4.80 for a Coke — and compared them to Costco.
“A lot of our listeners are even texting now and saying you can get a hot dog and a drink with unlimited refills for $2 at Costco,” Wilson said.
“We’re not in Costco,” Hemmes replied.
“Yes, it’s a football stadium,” Wilson agreed, receiving a personal invitation from Hemmes.
“I’d love for you to come to the next game with me and I can show you the logistics of what’s important [running the stadium food and beverage] very different from a Dan Murphy’s and a Costco – the experience is world class.’