4 Sep

Wellington and Christchurch to host RWC Quarter Finals
by Tracey Nelson
4 Sep 2008

Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd in conjunction with Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) today announced that the venues for the quarter-final games will be in Wellington and Christchurch. Auckland will host the play-off bronze medal game for third place.

With RWC Ltd’s preference to have just two cities hosting the quarter-finals, it came down to a three horse race between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. With Auckland already allocated the two semi-finals and the final, it was hoped that the quarter-finals would be hosted elsewhere in the country to truly live up to the slogan “a stadium of 4 million people” but there were doubts that this would happen given that Auckland is home to the country’s biggest stadium, and therefore the source of greatest revenue from ticket sales.

But despite IRB chief executive Mike Miller’s “clear and strong preference” that Auckland and one other city host the quarterfinals mainly on the grounds of financial reasons, RNZ 2011 decided to compromise and use Wellington and Christchurch as the two hosts regardless of the fact it could cost the NZRU up to $10million in gate revenue due to both stadiums being smaller tha Eden Park.

While Wellington’s stadium has a current capacity of 34,500 seats, temporary seating could increase that to 40.000.Likewise in Christchurch where the redeveloped stadium will have a capacity of 38,6000 this too could be increased to 45,000 with temporary seating.

Rugby World Cup 2011 Ltd chief executive Martin Sneddon said that even with Auckland not hosting a quarter-final, financial losses could be contained. The government has already unwritten the $30 million loss the tournament is expected to record, but hosting the RWC is likely to provide $112 million in tax revenue.

The only downside is that tickets are likely to be more expensive than ever seen before at a RWC tournament, with premium seats at the final potentially costing up to $1000. But with 40 pool games likely to be spread over 11 venues throughout the country, the average New Zealander is likely to be able to afford a seat even if it isn’t to watch the All Blacks.

The four quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of October 7, 8 and 9, 2011. The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of 15 and 16 October while the Bronze Final will be staged one or two days prior to the Final which is scheduled to be played on Labour Weekend (October 21-23) 2011.

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