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Rugby World Cup
Thousands of RWC tickets still available
ESPNscrum Staff
July 1, 2011
RNZ 2011 boss Martin Snedden poses with some Rugby World Cup tickets, Rugby World Cup ticket launch, Wellington, New Zealand, May 12, 2011
Snedden will hope the rugby watching public snap up the remaining 450,000 tickets needed for the organisers to reach their revenue target © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Martin Snedden
Tournaments/Tours: Rugby World Cup
Teams: New Zealand
Grounds: Eden Park

Rugby World Cup ticket sales have hit NZ$200m (£103m) but there are still thousands of unsold seats ahead of the tournament which starts in September.

Following NZ$31m (£16m) worth of sales in the last six weeks, Rugby New Zealand 2011 CEO Martin Snedden was understandably pleased with the recent upturn in ticket sales. "This is a significant milestone," said Snedden. "It is a great place to be with the final ticket phase beginning on Monday.

"Prior to RWC 2011, the highest revenue-generating event in New Zealand's history was the 2005 British & Irish Lions Tour, which grossed NZ$24m (£12.6m). As of today, we have achieved eight times the ticket revenue for that event. We have now sold just over 900,000 tickets which underlines how popular this event is going to be."

With the final phase of ticketing getting underway on Monday, organisers have sold roughly 900,000 tickets, 450,000 tickets short of their projected total. With that in mind, Snedden has sounded a rallying call for fans to purchase their tickets for rugby's premier competition. "This could be the last time we will see the 20 best teams in the world battling it out for the Webb Ellis Cup in our own backyard, Snedden said. "We hope Kiwi fans in particular seize the opportunity to get ringside seats at the biggest sporting event of 2011.

"We are expecting a strong response from fans when the final ticket phase opens. As we saw in France in 2007 and Australia in 2003, many fans make up their minds much closer to the Tournament so we are optimistic that fans will respond in the same way."

The upturn in ticket sales will come as a welcome relief to the tournament's organisers after they were forced to refund 130,000 tickets following February's earthquake in Christchurch. IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset has echoed Snedden in anticipating a strong demand for tickets with just 69 days left until the World Cup.

"This key announcement truly represents the final countdown to the Tournament and I am sure that there will be strong demand for tickets," Lapasset said. "RWC 2011 is on track to be a successful Tournament that New Zealanders and the global Rugby family will be proud of."

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