Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg was sold out before the close of business yesterday for Saturday’s Super Rugby final between the Lions and the Crusaders.
Edgar Rathbone, the chief financial officer at the Lions, said the tickets were in high demand.
“At one stage, 3 000 to 4 000 tickets were selling by the hour,” he said.
There were long queues going out of the main gate at the stadium yesterday. The stadium, which has a capacity of 62 567, was last sold out for the All Black Test against the Springboks in 2015, won 27-20 by the Kiwis, said Rathbone.
The categories are A – R550, B – R350, C – R180, D – R80. Rathbone said the category C and D tickets sold out first.
“The last time we had a sell-out with a Lions game was the Currie Cup final of 2011 against the Sharks,” he said.
“The full house is just reward for the Lions team who have performed so well, as well as a possible fitting finale for their coach, Johan Ackermann.”
The promotion-relegation match against the Kings in 2013 also drew a full house, the biggest attendance for a Super Rugby match locally.
“We also had good crowds for last year’s semifinal in Super Rugby against the Highlanders, as well as the Currie Cup final of 2015, which both drew in excess of 45 000 people,” he said.
Rathbone said it was difficult to estimate the profit from the final, but said it could be in the region of R10 million, while R1.6 million will have to be paid to the visiting Crusaders.
“We had a crowd of 26 000 for the quarterfinal against the Sharks and 32 000 for the semifinal against the Hurricanes, which wasn’t very profitable, so we are obviously delighted about the massive interest,” he said.
“But I believe in this tough financial climate people were probably saving their money for a possible final.”
Ellis Park Stadium was constructed in 1928 and was first named for Mr JD Ellis, who made the land for the stadium available. – firstname.lastname@example.org