Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup ticket sales on track
ESPNscrum Staff
December 16, 2010

Rugby World Cup organisers have announced that they are on track to meet their ticket sales goal for next year's tournament in New Zealand.

Rugby New Zealand 2011(RNZ 2011) chief executive Martin Snedden confirmed that ticket sales for major matches and revenue targets are on track and also that they expect at least 85,000 overseas fans to flood the tournament.

"This is a very good position to be in with 267 days to go until kickoff," he said. "We still have a lot left to do, but event preparations, coupled with ticket sales to date and strong international visitorship projections, mean we are getting ourselves in good shape to host the tournament."

Currently, 864,000 tickets have been sold since they went on sale in April - totalling almost two-thirds of the 1.45million targeted by organisers for the World Cup's 48 matches. Ticket sales revenue now stands at NZ$166 million.

"We are on track to achieve the forecast total ticket sales revenue of $268 million," Snedden said. "[That target] was always going to be a big leap into the unknown given that the biggest grossing event previously in New Zealand's history was the 2005 Lions tour during which the NZRU grossed NZ$24million from ticket sales.

"We've now achieved seven times that figure. In the end, we'll need to do 11 times that amount to hit budget."

After conducting a survey, RNZ 2011 was able to estimate the number of visitors that will bolster crowds at the tournament. Snedden confirmed that at least 55,000 would come courtesy of the public ticket programme while another 30,000 have signed up to official packages.

"Attracting visitors is a key part of the benefits of staging a Rugby World Cup," he said. "It's terrific that 44% of these FIT [Free and Independent Travellers] visitors will be coming to New Zealand for the first time. Furthermore, almost half of those surveyed have indicated an intention to arrive before the opening match on September 9 with the average length of FIT stay being 23 days.

"Many intend travelling right around the country. While the bulk of visitors (36,500) expect at some stage to visit Auckland, at least 11,000 say they will also travel down the West Coast of the South Island and 18,000 to Otago and Southland. Regions up and down New Zealand will benefit."

Rugby World Cup Limited managing director Mike Miller, in New Zealand to check on progress at AMI Stadium in Christchurch and a new stadium being built in Dunedin, was confident tournament preparations are on track.

"Stadium Christchurch will be an exceptional rugby World Cup venue and I have no doubt Otago Stadium will not only be ready on time, but will quickly establish itself as one of the finest sporting venues in the world with its innovative design and exceptional spectator experience," he said.

"What I am seeing, having made several visits to New Zealand in the past year, is a country that is advanced in its preparations to host a fantastic Rugby World Cup. This Tournament is all about partnership and I am delighted to say that all stakeholders, including the New Zealand government, are geared towards hosting a tournament that New Zealanders and the global rugby family can be proud of."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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