The Springboks could open the international season in front of a half empty stadium on Saturday.
This embarrassing scenario is a distinct possibility after Ellis Park officials confirmed that sale of tickets had been “far worse than expected.”
By late on Thursday afternoon less than half of the tickets for the Springbok XV v World XV match at Ellis Park had been sold. Usually at this stage – approximately 48 hours before kick-off – of the build-up to a real Test match, Ellis Park officials are preparing to put up the “Sold Out” sign.
Instead less than 30,000 tickets for the 65,000 capacity stadium have been sold. Ticket prices range from R250 to R300 each. Scholars get a special price of R100 per ticket. But clearly the fans are not happy with these prices for a match missing many first-choice Boks, while the World XV have some excellent players, but most are well past their prime.
“The ticket sales are not going as well as we would have liked,” said Golden Lions Rugby Union’s commercial manager Andre Homan. “We have sold around 30,000, and usually for matches involving the Boks we sell out by the Friday or early on Saturday morning.
Homan said he was expecting a late rush and hoped to have at least 45,000 people in the stadium by the 3pm kick-off on Saturday. “Our initial aim was a minimum of 45,000 and hopefully we can still achieve that.”
The ticket prices were decided by the South African Rugby Players’ Association (SARPA), who have already acted to public lethargy by reducing the cost of scholars tickets from R250 to R100 behind the poles.
The proceeds from the match are to go to SARPA (70%) and SA Rugby (30%). SARPA will use their portion to fund projects in the coming montha that will benefit the players in the long run.
Tickets are available from any moneymarket counter at Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide or at shoprite.co.za.
By Andrew Hollely