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The majority owner of the Highlanders will no longer sell the tickets to his side’s games.
The Highlanders announced late last week that after more than 20 years with ticketing agency Ticket Rocket, formerly known as Ticket Direct, they have signed a ticketing partnership with Ticketek.
Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said the move to Ticketek was exciting.
"While we’re saddened to be leaving a long-term partner and supporter of rugby, not only in Otago but in New Zealand, we are excited to be moving to a global partner like Ticketek and we think the move will be beneficial for our fans," he said.
The change came late last week and the Highlanders were going to offer free entry for children for this weekend’s game against the Lions. However, with the competition suspended because of Covid-19, that game has been postponed.
Ticket Rocket chief executive Matthew Davey said it had been an amazing 21 years with the Highlanders.
‘‘It’s been a fantastic journey that wouldn’t have happened without the support of the Highlanders and the vision of people like Neville Frost, John Hornbrook and so many other supporters who believed in us and gave a chance to a couple kids from Canada starting a business in Dunedin. I can’t express my thanks enough,’’ Davey said.
‘‘We’re very excited about our own new direction with Ticketek and the evolution of our ticketing business. The Highlanders are in very capable hands going forward with a great partner like Ticketek, who are so focused on delivering amazing experiences to our customers."
Davey teamed up with the Otago Rugby Football Union to sell tickets to games at Carisbrook in 1999 and that was the start of Ticket Direct.
Davey was selling part of his business to Ticketek and would retain his shareholding in the franchise, Clark said. Davey and business partners bought a share in the Highlanders in November 2015 and were granted a five-year licence to run the franchise.
Davey is the majority shareholder.
The franchise keeps the gate money and arrange its own sponsorship while the players and some of the coaches are paid by New Zealand Rugby through the money paid by broadcasters.