Ticket prices are justified, insists HKFA
Profit-making is not the Premier League's priority, HKFA boss Brian Leung Hung-tak said yesterday, as organisers announced a highest-priced ticket of HK$460 - up $80 from four years ago - for the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong next month.
The two-day tournament featuring three Premier League teams - Chelsea, Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers, and domestic champions Kitchee - will take place at Hong Kong Stadium on July 27 and July 30. Leung is confident the higher-priced ticket will not deter fans. Other tickets are priced at HK$330, HK$270, HK$210 and HK$130 (concessionary tickets)
'The prices are reasonable and we can guarantee the audience will be treated to two days of top-class football,' Hong Kong Football Association chairman Leung said. 'Profit making is not top of the agenda for hosting the event as the Premier League is more concerned about promoting the brand in Asia.
'The event was so popular four years ago and we hope the fans can again fill the stadium to provide a good atmosphere. If that happens, I'm sure the tournament will come back to Hong Kong very soon. '
A crowd of 36,800 attended the first day's competition in 2007, with a near full-house of 39,500 showing up for the final.
'We are hoping for a full stadium,' said Richard Masters, the Premier League's director of sales and marketing. 'We nearly got there in 2007 and we will be happy with the same this time ... there are 27,000 tickets available for each day and almost 20,000 are lower-priced tickets.'
Tickets will go on sale today at Cityline (www.cityline.com or telephone booking on 2111-5333) and 24 outlets of the Parsons Music stores. They can also be purchased at HKFA headquarters in Ho Man Tin.
Kitchee will play Chelsea, while Aston Villa face Blackburn on the opening day. The two winners will meet three days later, with the losers contesting the third-place play-off.
The Hong Kong team will play hosts to Saudi Arabia at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground in a World Cup qualifier on July 28, just 24 hours after the opening day of the tournament, but Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin made it clear they would put national duty ahead of the Asia Trophy, which means captain Lo Kwan-yee and midfield powerhouse Lam Ka-wai are likely to miss the clash against Chelsea.