Excitement builds for historical Super Rugby game

By Sina Filifilia Seva’aetasi ,

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AUCKLAND BLUES CAPTAIN: Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua were here in Samoa recently to promote the upcoming clash of the Blues vs Reds on June.

AUCKLAND BLUES CAPTAIN: Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua were here in Samoa recently to promote the upcoming clash of the Blues vs Reds on June. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Excitement is building ahead of the first ever Super Rugby match in Samoa.

On Friday 2 June 2017, international rugby stars from the Auckland Blues and Queensland Reds will go head to head in a clash that will be written in Samoa’s history books forever. 

As exciting as this sounds, many local rugby fans are checking their wallets before getting their fan gear together.

Besides the $40 general admission, the ticket prices are quite hefty. 

However, the Chief Executive Officer of the Blues, Michael Redman, said there is a significant cost to bringing the game to our shores.  

 “There was genuine desire among our club, our players and from Samoa for this game. It is important for the Blues, for Samoa and for rugby in general,” he told the Sunday Samoan.

 “This is a unique rugby opportunity for Samoa to host two competitive Super Rugby teams in what is arguably the best club rugby competition in the world, that feature a large number of international players on both sides.”

 “There is a deep desire to make this game happen, but if this is to be considered as something that can be achieved on a more regular basis, then it has to be financially viable.”

 “We are very aware of the need to keep our ticket prices as low as possible, as we are constrained also by the capacity at Apia Park.”

Apia Park has a maximum capacity of 4,700 seats with an additional 4,000 tickets being sold for general admission behind the goals posts.  This is in comparison to the maximum capacity of Eden Park which seats 50,000. 

“The general admission price of 40 tala is less than the general admission price at Eden Park (49 tala) despite the considerably larger capacity of Eden Park. It is equitable with ticket prices for the All Blacks vs Samoa last year and less than the general admission price for the Joseph Parker fight,” he added. 

Mr. Redman said the ticket prices were set in discussion with Ticketmaster, which also handled the All Blacks game, promoters and partners in Samoa.  The prices reflect the additional costs  in bringing  the game to Samoa.  

 “There are significant additional costs in bringing a Super Rugby game to Samoa above what it would cost to play the match in Auckland. We have some wonderful sponsors and supporters from Samoa like BlueSky, Samoa Tourism, the Sheraton Group, Pacific Ezy among others to offset some of these costs but we need to cover the rest of this from ticket sales to ensure the venture is viable,” he stated. 

Already there are a number of packages sold to fans overseas who are just as excited as we are to watch the game in our own backyard. 

 “As you would expect, there is considerable interest in the match from resident Samoans as well as from Samoan families living in New Zealand and Australia.”

“To date there have been approximately 500 packages sold to supporters travelling from Australia and New Zealand to Samoa for the game. And we have a Blues Sponsors group as well with 40 travelling with a number staying for longer,” he said.  

There is also an additional cost that has been factored in for the production crew  of 30 from Sky Television travelling over to broadcast the game.  

The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union, Faleomavega Vincent Fepulea’i said: “The ticket prices are set to assist recovery of the additional costs to SKY TELEVISION in bringing up their personnel/equipment to broadcast the match.” 

“Ticket sales in the islands have a tendency to be last minute and we anticipate it will be the same here as the match will be during our week of Independence celebrations.”

He also clarified that the S.R.U.’s role in the game is purely at the operational level.   

 “Of course, we fully support and welcome the fixture and we are doing all possible to facilitate this match to the expected standard and assist to sell the match to the public.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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