1 Jun 2011

Minister satisfied with Rugby World Cup ticket sales

6:18 pm on 1 June 2011

The minister in charge of the Rugby World Cup says he's comfortable with the way ticket sales are going, despite an admission from event organisers that the Christchurch earthquake has caused problems.

The tournament starts in 100 days from Wednesday, and the quake has been the biggest challenge by far - including difficulty reselling the tickets to Christchurch games which have been moved to other centres.

The minister, Murray McCully, says they were on target with tickets before having to refund sales for the Christchurch games.

He believes the tournament company is still likely to make the predicted loss of about $39 million.

Stronger uptake expected in July

At present, resales are being offered only to people who already had tickets to Christchurch games but will be open to the rest of the public next month.

Rugby World Cup 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden told Nine to Noon that when the tickets go on general sale, uptake should be much stronger.

Mr Snedden says that, for example, people living in Nelson have not yet had the chance to buy tickets to the Australia game rescheduled there.

He says it was always going to be a tough ask for Christchurch people to attend games elsewhere.

Mr Snedden says the quake has been a setback to total ticket sales for the tournament but otherwise they are on track.

In the final 100 days, Eden Park and the new Dunedin Stadium need to be completed. Organisers say work on the Auckland party central and waterfront venues is happening on time.

A campaign is beginning to get New Zealanders excited about the tournament, with organisers suggesting fans adopt a second team to cheer for when they're not playing the All Blacks - such as Tonga, Scotland or Romania.