Rugby World Cup yet to meet ticket sales target

Updated: 2011-10-11 13:42


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WELLINGTON - The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand with the semi-finals scheduled for this coming weekend is just under 3 million NZ dollars ($2.34 million) short of meeting its target for ticket sales, organizers announced Tuesday.

Ticket revenue for Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) stood at 265. 6 million NZ dollars from 1.35 million ticket sales, said Rugby New Zealand 2011 (RNZ 2011) chief executive Martin Snedden.

The figure was 11 times greater than New Zealand's previous highest grossing sports event, the 2005 rugby tour by the British and Irish Lions, which grossed 24 million NZ dollars.

"We now need to make sales of just 2.9 million NZ dollars to meet our financial target of 268.5 million NZ dollars and we fully expect to do so with big crowds expected for the final four matches of the Tournament," said Snedden.

"The way New Zealanders have embraced this event has been fantastic and we are thrilled to be in this position given the challenges we have faced."

In the first semi-final both of which will be played at Auckland's Eden Park France will face off against Wales on Saturday, while home team New Zealand will play Australia on Sunday.

RNZ 2011 said 7,000 tickets were still available for the first semi-final, and "a few hundred" tickets for the All Blacks- Wallabies clash were expected to be released later this week.

"Now that the four semi-finalists have been confirmed we expect strong demand for remaining tickets over coming days," said Shane Harmon, RNZ 2011 general manager marketing and communications.

The semi-finals losers will play off for third place at Eden Park on Oct 21, and the winners will play for the championship on Oct 23.

"We are set for a thrilling finale to Rugby World Cup 2011 with two compelling semi-finals set to take centre stage this weekend and a northern hemisphere versus southern hemisphere showdown guaranteed for the final," said International Rugby Board (IRB) chairman Bernard Lapasset.

"With the knock-out phase of Rugby World Cup 2011 now well and truly underway, attendance and atmosphere continue to be strong and I would like to thank New Zealanders for the outstanding support and passion for this turnament."

The IRB Rugby World Cup, the third largest sports event in the world, first kicked off in 1987 and is held every four years. In 2007, the sixth tournament was held in France and was followed by worldwide broadcast audience of more than 4 billion.