The opening games of the planned mini-series between New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams are heading for substantial attendances.
Following the government announcement that the Covid-19 warning had dropped to alert level 1, allowing mass gatherings to take place, ticket sales for the games have surged.
The Auckland Blues’ chief executive Andrew Hore said well over 20,000 tickets for Sunday’s game at Eden Park had already been sold in less than 24 hours, New Zealand news site Stuff reports, and he predicted a crowd in excess of 35,000 could attend.
Hore said every ticket sale will help offset major financial challenges faced by all involved in rugby and save jobs within his organisation and outside of it.
“It even extends to the business that feeds off professional rugby as well. The industries that clean this place, the security staff, this makes a massive difference to getting those industries up and running again,” Hore said.
The rugby restart will also be welcomed by New Zealand Rugby which has been hard hit financially by the Covid-19 shutdown. The governing body has already cut half of its 180 full time jobs while others are having to reapply for their roles.
Super Rugby Aotearoa will see New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams – the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders – play each other home and away over 10 weeks.