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World Cup plans unaffected by financial crisis

THE global financial crisis would not affect planning for the 2011 rugby World Cup in New Zealand until tickets went on sale later this year, the organizing company's chief executive has said.

"We really don't know what is going to happen with this recession," Rugby New Zealand 2011 CEO Martin Snedden said. "That will become apparent to us within the next 12 months when we begin selling the tickets."

While specific details of the ticketing strategy had yet to be announced, sales to international fans travelling to the September 9-October 23 event in 2011 would be a key driver of the projected NZ$280 million (US$156.4 million) revenue from tickets.

The host union is only allowed to keep ticket revenue, with the International Rugby Board keeping all commercially-generated revenue.

The hosts also have to guarantee a hosting fee of NZ$150 million and bear the NZ$160 million costs of the tournament, with the total costs projected to be NZ$310 million.

The NZ$30 million shortfall is to be underwritten by the government and the New Zealand Rugby Union and Snedden has already said tickets for marquee games will be priced at levels that many locals would not be able to afford.

Average prices for the final will be about NZ$750, with premium seating in excess of NZ$1000, he said, with the majority of those tickets expected to be snapped up by international fans.

Ticket prices

"We have made it very clear that (pricing) will be similar to ...2007 (in France). Whilst ticket prices are normal in international terms, for New Zealanders the prices for the big games will be significantly higher and that will take people getting their heads around," he said.

"But with the financial model we are working with, that is what we have to do."

Snedden said the strategy also relied on pricing pool games to ensure stadia were filled to at least 85-90 percent capacity.

"For 30-34 games, (pricing) is not an issue. The prices are low. For people who have got games in places like Nelson, Invercargill and Whangarei they will be very affordable.

"The big issue will be around the big games at the big stadia.

"But we have made sure ... that we have put some of the smaller games (price wise) in there so people in the big cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch aren't faced with every one of their games costing a lot of money."

Snedden said organizers were still working on the projected 60-70,000 international fans expected for the tournament until ticket sales indicated otherwise.

"We will still stick to those (original estimates) but they are being constantly watched. We just don't know what the cycle of this recession is. We're not going to revise the number now. We have to just keep going and if the number is less, then we have to deal with it. There is nothing much we can do about that."


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