'Unacceptable': $5 million fallout from Aussie basketball 'disgrace'

The Boomers-Team USA match drew widespread criticism from fans who purchased tickets. Pic: Getty

Thousands of aggrieved basketball fans will receive refunds totalling more than $5 million for tickets purchased to last year's much-hyped Australia-USA exhibition series in Melbourne.

An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation found fans at the two games in August were misled about the quality of views from their seats in sections of Marvel Stadium.

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They were also found to have been subjected to false advertising by promoter TEG Live.

Top NBA stars who appeared in promotional material - including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George and James Harden - did not ultimately play in the two games.

Record crowds of more than 50,000 fans attended each event.

"In our view, TEG Live's conduct was unacceptable, and we are pleased around 5000 consumers will receive automatic refunds before the end of July," ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

TEG Live's advertising material used a picture of a stadium showing the floor-level seats would be tiered.

But those seats at the games were not tiered and many consumers had obstructed views.

Hollywood star Russell Crowe was among the throng of fans who took to social media to express anger at the poor views from their seats, claiming he had paid $1500 for his ticket.

The cost of floor-level seats ranged from $895 to $3995 for hospitality packages.

Crowe labelled the situation a “farce” at the time, while other fans described it as a “disgrace”.

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In a statement, the ACCC said: "TEG Live admits it made false or misleading claims about seating at the games held in Melbourne and acknowledged the ACCC's concerns that it may have breached the Australian Consumer Law by misleading consumers about which USA national basketball team players would be playing, or would be available to play, in the games."

TEG Live admitted the mock-up of tiered seating was "a mistake on our part" and acknowledged fans' disappointment that the final teams did not include some of the NBA's biggest stars.

Only four players selected in the initial 35-man USA squad - Harrison Barnes, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and Myles Turner - played in the Melbourne games.

"This is a particularly complex issue for our industry because in team sport, team selection is within the sole control of sporting teams or federations - in this case USA Basketball - rather than the company promoting the event," the TEG Live statement read.

"In addition, final team selection is always subject to change. Several intervening events contributed to an unprecedented number of player withdrawals ahead of these basketball games."

According to the ACCC, TEG Live must now "include prominent disclosures in advertising regarding player participation and seating" for future events.

For the next three years, TEG Live must report to the ACCC annually on any advertising which referenced individual players who did not participate in the event.

with Yahoo Sport staff