A top executive of the British and Irish Lions is confident that the famous team's visit in 2013 will not be a financial burden for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, which faces losses of millions of dollars from hosting the Bledisloe Cup last Saturday. Charlie McEwan, a senior official involved in marketing the Lions brand, said he expected a high demand for tickets, not only from the Hong Kong public but fans in Asia and the travelling horde from Britain. 'There will be a minimum of 10,000 fans from Britain and Ireland following the team to Hong Kong and I don't expect there to be many empty seats,' said McEwan, part of an advance party who arrived last weekend to check out the facilities. The HKRFU landed a huge coup last month when it confirmed the Lions would stop over on their way to Australia in 2013. They will meet an international Barbarians XV at Hong Kong Stadium on June 1. More than 30,000 fans from Britain are expected to follow the team in Australia, with at least one-third coming through Hong Kong. 'There is a close affinity with Hong Kong for people from Britain and Ireland and we can expect a large group of travelling fans to turn up,' McEwan said. Only 26,000 fans turned up for the Bledisloe Cup thriller - won 26-24 by the Wallabies - at the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium. Those stayaway fans represented a loss of more than HK$10 million in ticket sales, leaving the HKRFU in the red. HKRFU officials said the unsold tickets represented poor overseas demand. In 2008, when the first offshore Bledisloe Cup match was played in Hong Kong, more than 38,000 fans turned out. Guy Richardson, Lions' director of operations who led the advance party, praised the HKRFU for its organisational capacity. 'This is our first visit of many, and I can say we are extremely pleased and very encouraged with what we have seen,' he said. 'The Hong Kong Stadium is an excellent venue and we are pleased with all the facilities we have seen. 'The aim of our visit was to look at our options for hotels, training-ground facilities and visit the stadium. We will be spoilt for choices,' Richardson said. HKRFU chairman Trevor Gregory said he was happy they had been given the thumbs up. 'We are very confident it will be a packed stadium in 2013. The once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Lions taking on the Barbarians in Hong Kong will guarantee that,' Gregory said. The early discussions between the Lions officials and the HKRFU had not broached the topic of how tickets would be allocated. 'We will have to make sure we get the balance right and we have an open mind,' McEwan said. 'We are aware the Hong Kong public will be absolutely critical to the event being a success.' McEwan said it was still early days as far as ticket pricing and when tickets would go on sale. 'We are still talking about it. I can't say right now if it will be in the same region as the Bledisloe Cup,' he said. 'But it has been a very productive visit.'