Confidence over NZ Rugby World Cup tickets - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Confidence over NZ Rugby World Cup tickets

12/05/2011 02:27:40 PM Comments (0)

Rugby World Cup organisers are confident of making their sales target, despite 560,000 tickets remaining unsold for the tournament which begins in New Zealand in 120 days.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden said 790,000 tickets for the September 9-October 23 event had been sold, after 130,000 were refunded following the Christchurch earthquake, well short of their goal of 1.35 million tickets.

Snedden said the devastating February earthquake, which killed 181 people and prompted the shifting of seven World Cup games from the city, had proved a massive challenge for organisers, but he was optimistic they would be able to cope with the dent in sales caused by the refunds.

"Pre-Christchurch, ticket sales were exactly where we expected them to be," said Snedden.

"The transfer of matches so close to kick-off is unprecedented for any major event and has created significant additional challenges, but we remain confident that we should be able to recoup the bulk of the refunded sales within the next two months or so.

Snedden added the organisation had insurance arrangements in place to mitigate the impact of the earthquake on ticket sales.

"Overall, we still remain confident that, by tournament-end, we will achieve our sales target of $NZ268 million ($A198.5 million) and 1.35 million tickets," he said.

The first tickets for the tournament have been issued to a Wellington family and they feature a New Zealand design.

Overseas fans should have their tickets delivered by the end of the month.

Any unsold tickets will be released to the public for general sale on July 4.

"The final sales phase is traditionally a strong sales period for major events. As was the case in Australia in 2003 and France in 2007, we fully expect that to be the case in New Zealand," said Snedden.

Snedden said tickets allocated to official travel agencies had risen to 105,000 from the original allocation of 70,000, and estimates of the number of Australia visitors during the tournament stood at 29,000 - up from a Tourism Ministry forecast of 21,000 last year.

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