13 Sep 2011

Cup crowd numbers 'grossly' underestimated

10:15 am on 13 September 2011

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce says the crowd estimate used to plan for Rugby World Cup opening celebrations in central Auckland was grossly wrong.

Organisers had expected about 50,000 people in the central city fan zone, but it is now thought that more than 200,000 tried to make their way into the area.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett says Auckland Council had spent 18 months promoting the fan zone and encouraging people to come into town to celebrate, so it is difficult to believe that the lower crowd number was expected.

Mr Barnett says he warned the council that 150,000 people could turn up.

A spokesperson for the council says it would be inappropriate to comment before a report on the opening night is released on Wednesday.