Chickenfeed closure contributes to Launceston Show's demise

NOT CHICKENFEED: Royal Launceston Show Society president Jock Gibson said pre-sold tickets contributed significantly. Picture: Phillip Biggs
NOT CHICKENFEED: Royal Launceston Show Society president Jock Gibson said pre-sold tickets contributed significantly. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Chickenfeed’s demise had a “profound impact” on the Royal Launceston Show’s ongoing operation.

The discount retail stores were the sole ticket presale outlet for Launceston show before the chain closed in 2012, with financial reports showing ticket sales have been in decline since the 2012 event.

A report prepared for the Royal National Agricultural & Pastoral Society of Tasmania and City of Launceston Council by Makris Skringar & Associates states Chickenfeed’s collapse stripped one-third of ticket sales from pre-event earnings.

“The Royal Launceston Show’s gate takings from 2012 were significantly impeded by the loss of Chickenfeed, its only channel to presale tickets from 2004 to 2011,” the report stated.

“Effectively, the loss of these presales caused the question of viability to be raised regarding the Royal Launceston Show.”

The report shows a drop in agricultural show attendance has been felt across Australia as traditional show-goers broke their habit of attending an annual event, “however, exacerbating the decline in attendance for the Royal Launceston Show was the collapse of the solus, pre-event ticket seller and general discount retailer, Chickenfeed in 2012...”

Until 2011 an average of 20,350 people attended the Royal Launceston Show, but this dropped to 12,800 from 2012.

Reports authors see this as “a decent result considering the overall drop in national show attendance of 25 per cent and the debilitating loss due to Chickenfeed’s collapse in 2012”.

Royal Launceston Show Society president Jock Gibson said ticket presales at Chickenfeed were a significant contributor to show earnings.

“Chickenfeed were fairly popular and were ideal to do presales,” Mr Gibson said.

“Presales used to be a huge thing [for Launceston Show]. When you get a lot of presales it certainly helps push things along.”

Telstra and Heritage Isle took over selling pre-event tickets for Launceston Show but they were “not in a similar situation”.

The show’s future is still under discussion, with an announcement expected at the end of this week, Mr Gibson said.

“At the moment we’re not in a position to do it. Without a fair injection of funds we’re not going to be able to,” he said.