Memo to whom this may concern: the public is sick of getting dudded.

There were two more sports/entertainment stuff ups in Auckland this weekend, at Eden Park and Western Springs. When will the punters and their hard-earned money be taken more seriously?

I'm one of Duco Events' biggest fans in the media with huge admiration for the risks they take to create big events and particularly the clever development of Joseph Parker. But sadly, I can't fully trust their promotions any longer.

Duco can complain all they like, and a representative rang the NZ Herald to do so about aspects of the coverage of the Brisbane 10s where the key All Blacks who figured in the promotion didn't play.


If you put three current All Blacks on the poster, it very strongly suggests that they and/or a lot of current All Blacks - who are massive drawcards - will be playing. People, it's called false advertising. Pure and simple. And trying to worm your way out of that only makes the matter worse. It's your event. It's your responsibility.

Duco's league Nines have lost much of whatever spark they had thanks to weakened squads and an over-dependence on the unreliable Warriors, who crashed out of contention on day one this year.

Shaun Johnson - named in the Warriors team to play the Auckland Nines - sat in the stands at Eden Park, with a very minor hip flexor injury. The mercurial Johnson isn't just another player. He's the difference in Nines, to the Warriors and whether people buy tickets or not.

A number of people in the media believed Johnson's inclusion was for purely promotional reasons, that he wouldn't play many minutes. Their suspicions will not be allayed by Johnson telling Fox: "I don't know if I'd call it an injury. I was out there warming up, but yesterday in our final session, it was a bit tight through my hip flexor."

The Warriors had picked a weak squad and stated the Nines were not a priority, so why was Johnson included in the first place? After day one assistant coach Steve McNamara said Johnson was still a chance to play today (Sunday), which makes absolutely no sense at all. Surely?

If Duco and anyone else feels this suspicion is unfair, the answer is that the Brisbane 10s advertising was unfair.

It's been a rough few weeks for sport and entertainment.

Something went seriously astray at the Guns N' Roses concert at Western Springs on Saturday night, where punters were stranded due to a wrist band shortage.

The holiday surcharge on food at Eden Park during a cricket international is the king of PR bungles. Sport is escapism, not a place where you pay to be insulted by an unpopular technicality which makes stadium food/beverage over-pricing even worse. Why not go the whole hog, and pay someone to abuse the fans as they come in the gate.

Moving fans were left fuming at poor drainage and communication at the washed out match between New Zealand and Australia in Napier.

And the Wellington sevens organisers flew in the face of ticket sales reality pretending it might be all right on the night. It wasn't.

The sports and entertainment industry needs to clean up its act.


New Zealand Rugby deserves a break for now on the mysterious business involving Patrick Tuipulotu, who reportedly has tested positive to a banned substance although the B sample result may not yet be back.

From what can be gathered, the few people in the know are not even prepared to go off the record on this one, except to say it is a "personal matter".

NZR, the Blues, Tuipulotu's agent and everyone else may indeed be dealing with a unique, tricky situation. Players are entitled to privacy on some matters, such as health. It's hard to say how this might unfold.