The ticket sales for the Super Rugby semi-final between the Lions and the Highlanders at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday are expected to go through the roof come Friday.
With the Lions left as the lone SA survivor in the last four of the competition they carry the pride and hope of the entire nation, and by all indications the available tickets will become less and less by Friday afternoon.
The Lions’ chief financial officer Edgar Rathbone said on Tuesday all indications were that by Friday they could very well reach the 50 000 mark or beyond, with 17 500 tickets already sold at noon on Monday.
“By Tuesday this week we already sold more than 25 000 tickets which was the mark we reached only by last Friday for the quarter-final against the Crusaders last weekend,” he said.
“So with those three extra days added to the mix we could look at easy 50 000 tickets come Friday, which could further increase by the game’s start on Saturday,” he said.
The attendance figures of 30 138 for last weekend’s Crusaders match in the quarter-finals could also very well have to do with the current economic climate in the country, said Rathbone.
“One must remember last weekend’s match date was the 23rd which fell just before payday on the 25th which very well have meant a lot of people didn’t have the money to come to the game as matchday entails more than just the purchase of a ticket,” he said.
The cheapest ticket in category D is priced at R80, while Category C is R120, category B is R250 and category A is R350.
Earlier Rathbone also explained that R1 million has to be paid to the Highlanders for gate income as per Sanzaar rules, which is higher for a semi-final, as they had to pay the Crusaders R750 000 for the quarter-final last weekend.
The game kicks off at 3pm on Saturday while the earlier semi-final between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs in Wellington starts at 9.35am SA time.
The Lions will have to travel next week to Wellington if they beat the Highlanders and the Hurricanes beat the Chiefs. It will then be the Hurricanes’ second straight home final, but last year they lost 20-14 to the Highlanders.
If the Chiefs however win and the Lions could get the better of the Highlanders, the final would for the first time be held at Ellis Park.
That is if one doesn’t include Transvaal’s winning final in 1993 when they beat Auckland in the Super 10 final, which took place before the game turned professional in 1996.