NZ Rugby defends lofty Lions ticket prices

New Zealand Rugby is defending its substantial ticket prices to watch next year’s tour by the British & Irish Lions.

Pricing and sale details for the five-week tour were announced on Tuesday, with NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew acknowledging prices were well in excess of regular international and Super Rugby matches in New Zealand.

Tickets for the three Tests will be available by ballot and range from $149 to $449.

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The seven other matches involving the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, the Super Rugby teams and the Maori All Blacks range from $39 to $129.

Children’s tickets start at $10 for the tour-opening Barbarians match in Whangarei and $29 for the other non-Test matches.

Tew said NZ Rugby was committed to making matches affordable but acknowledged prices had to be higher for the biggest event it can host outside a Rugby World Cup.

He says the Tests are priced at the approximate level of a World Cup quarter-final.

“We believe we’ve got the balance right. We want to encourage as many New Zealanders as possible to embrace this unique rugby experience as we welcome the legions of Lions fans to our shores,” he said.

“The revenue that’s generated from this one-in-12-year event gets ploughed back into rugby at all levels for the benefit of future generations.”

British & Irish Lions fans will lock to New Zealand next year. Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images

More than 20,000 Lions fans are expected to join the tour between June 3 and July 8.

Of 350,000 total tickets, about 250,000 will be available through a general public ticket process. The others will be sold through official travel and hospitality packages.

An online ballot will open on September 5 for New Zealand-based fans to apply for Test tickets, with rugby stakeholders such as season ticket holders and stadium members having a better chance of success.

Tickets for the seven other games will go on general sale in New Zealand from October 28, with the same stakeholders given a priority period from early October.

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