Rugby: Bumper ticket sales for Highlanders

Star recruits like Ma'a Nonu have helped drive Highlanders ticket sales. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Star recruits like Ma'a Nonu have helped drive Highlanders ticket sales. Photo by Peter McIntosh
The Highlanders are celebrating a record number of season ticket holders - 4000, up from 3032 last season.

The Highlanders begin their season by hosting the defending champion Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday night.

Highlanders general manager Roger Clark was thrilled by the sales result.

"It's a great result, and putting it in perspective, we now have more season ticket holders than do the Chiefs, Crusaders or Hurricanes," he said.

Clark said the off-season signings of Brad Thorn, Tony Woodcock and Ma'a Nonu had helped increase interest and support.

In 2010 the Highlanders hit a low of 890 season ticket holders, but numbers have recovered since then. The retention rate of season ticket holders from last season has been 97 per cent, the franchise said.

"We've currently sold just under 14,600 for Friday's game against the Chiefs, which includes all season tickets and members, so things are tracking well for our first home game of the season," Clark said.

The Highlanders have three home games to start the season; the Chiefs, the Cheetahs in Invercargill on March 9, and the Hurricanes in Dunedin on March 15.


Profit and loss

Max: the contract we've seen from the ORFU gives them food and pour rights so take out that $70,000. Now let's include cheap student and child seats previous estimates have put the per-head price closer to $20. You claim $750,000 profit for last year but DVML lost $3m last year, not a profit.

I think you are confusing gross with profit. At $100k income a game for 7 games a gross of $750k sounds about right - but then you have to take out costs, electricity, maintenance, cleaning, insurance, rates, employees - Mr Burden's $250k salary eats up a third of that gross all by itself, all that stuff - then you can calculate DVML's profit or as they have reported $3m loss

Facts and figures

Friday night's game will see around 20,000 turn up at an average of $30 per ticket (conservative esitmate). Take out the season ticket holders and that leaves 15,000, give or take a few. 15,000 x $30 = $450,000, and using Mike's 20% figure that would return about $90,000. If we add food and drink profit from an average Super Rugby match that's another $70,000 (From previous ODT article).

So that's $70,000 + $90,000 = $160,000 without even adding in the season passes, signage sponsors, and match day sponsors which could add another $10,000 (conservative).

We know from a previous ODT article that match day expenses are around $15,000. So DVML will bank a profit from tonights Rugby of $145,000.. Even at Mike's magical figure of 100,000 per event this would make a profit.

There are six games at FBS this season so the money will soon add up. Rugby not paying it's way? I don't think so.

$99 pass

Yes, there were some $99 passes. 250 to be exact, and these were available as a Speights promotion and only released last week. This means the majority of people would be paying between $175 and $300 for their seasons passes. I can't comment on whether Speights paid the difference or if they were sponsors tickets as I don't know - and it doesn't really matter as Speight's are putting a lot of money into the stadium.

I don't want to get into the debate that goes around and around but here goes... I don't understand the statement that rugby need to pay more as if it wasn't for rugby the stadium would be worse off. This is demonstrated by last rugby season, where $750,000 profit was made from rugby events days - not bad for around 14 days usage. 

Given the news this week about concerts and other sports using the stadium, rugby is no longer the major user of the stadium. In fact, there are more soccer events than rugby.

Rugby shouldn't pay more when it is a minority user. Maybe the Unversity, Football NZ, market stall holders and concert promoters are in fact not paying their share?

Sir, you are correct

qsrc: Yes there is a $99 season pass -  and we are told that some times DVML only gets 10% of the take - so yes you are correct, even my best possible case estimate below of the most that DVML could make from this increase is $34,000, as you point out it could be as low as just $10,000 - but it really doesn't matter does it?  DVML lost millions of dollars this past year, either amount is but a drop in the city's continually increasing bucket of debt. Rugby certainly isn't paying its way.

Hang on a minute!

@mike last week you told us a seasn pass was $99 and the DCC received only 10%. This week it's $175 and 20%, are you making this up as you go along or what?

A season pass is actually from $380 to $175.


What does it mean?

Overit: What does it mean? Well, a regular season pass is worth $175 for 7 games. We know that DVML gets at most 20% of that back from the NZRFU, probably less. Let's assume the best; 20% means $35 from each of those season tickets - 968 extra season tickets means that DVML will earn about $34,000 more this coming year. They lost how much last year? $3 million? $4 million?

I don't think it means that they will suddenly start making a profit. The ratepayers will be stuck with the difference again. As we calculated in another thread the rugby patrons have to start paying their way - they only have to pay $17 more a game each for the stadium to break even.

I'll bite

I'll bite. And this increase in season tickets means what exactly?


QsRC: I'm really excited about this. I think having 4000 ticket holders will really really pay the bills - it should pay off the quarter of billion dollars debt by the end of the season and leave us in the black at the bank so we can progress to other acts of insanity. [Abridged]

Way to go Highlanders!

And cue the whinging now....