HKRFU boss Trevor Gregory is certain tickets for Lions game will sell
HKRFU chief says the unique match against the Barbarians will see a full stadium
Rugby bosses are confident they will sell 25,000 tickets to local residents for next summer's historic encounter between the British and Irish Lions and the British Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium.
"We are confident demand will be high," Hong Kong Rugby Football Union chairman Trevor Gregory said. "This will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the best of the Northern Hemisphere take on the best of the rest. It is a unique game and we are very excited and hopeful the stadium will be full."
Organisers are mindful of the last Bledisloe Cup encounter in Hong Kong in 2010 when only 26,210 fans paid to watch the All Blacks take on the Wallabies at the 40,000-capacity stadium, resulting in the HKRFU losing millions of dollars.
More than 25,000 tickets will be available for Hong Kong residents for the June 1 showdown when the Lions will make their first offshore visit in 125 years to a city other than the traditional touring countries of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Organisers expect around 10,000 travelling fans.
Public sales will start next month online with around 10,000 tickets up for grabs. Another 15,000 tickets have been made available for local rugby clubs. Tickets are priced at HK$1,290 (gold), HK$1,000 (silver) and HK$750 (bronze). In addition, tickets for the Lions den - the South Stand - will cost HK$1,100. "We looked at the ticket prices very carefully and there is a good spread [of pricing]," Gregory said. We are confident we will be able to sell all the tickets."
Only 4,000 tickets were available for the public for this year's Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, with the allocation for local clubs at the Sevens usually between 12,000 and 16,000 tickets.
"There will be a larger percentage of tickets available for the Hong Kong public than there was at the Hong Kong Sevens," said Jacqui Donaldson, a spokeswoman for the Lions. "The Hong Kong clubs have been given an exclusive window to reserve an allocation of tickets for their members and depending on that demand we might have more available for the public."
But some fans said the tickets were too costly.
"It is steep when you think of the price for the Hong Kong Sevens (HK$1,500 for a three-day ticket)," said Chee Sing Chan, a longtime Sevens fan. "But it seems this pricing is typical now for these big, one-off sports events. However, I would still buy a HK$750 ticket. It's the Lions and this only happens every four years and for the first time in Asia. They may never come again, hell yeah, I'll pay even the HK$1,290,"
Garry Coley from Sham Tseng said: "They are a bit on the high side. Sure it's a one-off event, with a good selection of world-class players, but at the end of the day the 'edge' isn't there as a competitive event. I guess it might be priced at what an Elton John concert ticket might cost in December. I am not comparing apples with apples, but my preference at this moment would be to see Elton John at those prices. Even breaking the Sevens down to daily it is HK$500, and that represents better value."