World Cup chief happy with ticket sales - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

World Cup chief happy with ticket sales

Steve Mcmorran 01/06/2011 09:37:47 AM Comments (0)

Rugby World Cup organisers say the relocation of matches from earthquake-stricken Christchurch has affected ticket sales.

But, with 100 days to go until the opening match, Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden remains confident of meeting targets and minimising the tournament's cost to taxpayers.

Snedden said the task of relocating seven matches, including two quarter-finals - and reallocating tickets - after the February 22 earthquake which killed 185 people was the biggest challenge organisers had faced in the six years since the Cup was awarded to New Zealand.

Organisers have refunded about 150,000 tickets sold for the matches scheduled for Christchurch at a cost of around $A15.5 million.

Snedden said re-sold tickets had so far only been offered to those who had originally purchased tickets to Christchurch games. Sales had been relatively slow, but he expected a surge when tickets were made available to all buyers next month.

In an interview on Wednesday, Snedden said he was confident organisers would earn the budgeted revenue from ticket sales of $NZ268 million ($A207.6 million), which would leave taxpayers and the New Zealand Rugby Union with a shared deficit of $NZ39 million ($A30.21 million).

The International Rugby Board takes all World Cup revenues except those from ticket sales which are left to local organisers to meet costs of staging the tournament.

"We had really high hopes for what Christchurch would do for the event in a rugby sense and it was really, really sad to have to take it away from there," Snedden said.

"So from an operational sense that was a big challenge and that flows on to the tickets. We have to give back 150,000 sales and 20 million bucks, and start again from zero on each of those matches."

Snedden dismissed reports that ticket sales generally had been "sluggish." The global recession, a strong New Zealand dollar and the high cost of travel and accommodation packages is thought to have impacted sales, but he said he was happy with progress so far.

"We would never have got to 900,000 ticket sales if there wasn't a high level of excitement around Rugby World Cup," he said.

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