Rugby World Cup organizers say the tournament easily surpassed the overall target of 127,000 spectators, with next week’s final between New Zealand and England nearly sold out.
Over 22,000 fans were in the stands at Eden Park for the semi-finals yesterday.
Tournament director Michelle Hooper said the 40,000 capacity at Eden Park was nearly exhausted for next Saturday’s final between the Black Ferns and the English Roses.
The final is expected to break the world record for the largest crowd to attend a women’s rugby match.
The record was set in the opening match of the tournament when just over 34,000 people filled the stands.
Hooper said ticket sales for the Rugby World Cup final skyrocketed last night, with 8,000 tickets sold following Black Fern’s semi-final victory.
“There was a massive stampede just after the final whistle last night, we hopped on the website and could see there were 4,000 people trying to buy tickets immediately after the whistle.
“We sold over 8,000 tickets last night, pretty much the majority of the tickets are gone.”
There would be a few small final releases in the coming days as the groupings were reduced, Hooper said.
Hooper said she was thrilled with the reception and it was what the Black Ferns deserved.
“They are sort of unsung heroes and it speaks to the legacy they have here, as well as the legacy of women’s rugby around the world, he absolutely didn’t have the stage in the spotlight that he deserved so much and in New Zealand we were determined to supercharge him and give him that platform to really shine.”
The atmosphere at the matches had been incredible and it was only fitting that the final would be sold out between New Zealand and favorites England, Hooper said.
RWC gives companies an economic and moral boost – Bridges
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Simon Bridges said the Rugby World Cup was just what local businesses needed.
The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for businesses over the past few years, and it has done more than just financial damage, he said.
Auckland’s business morale was also hit hard and it was fantastic to see them buzzing at full capacity again, Bridges said.
The Rugby World Cup exceeded expectations and the atmosphere at Tāmaki Makaurau was amazing, he said.
Bridges believed people wanted to make the most of big events and be able to party after the pandemic and he said that combined with Black Fern’s incredible performance, businesses had benefited from a good vibe.
This was particularly true for the hospitality sector, with bars, cafes and restaurants in the city center reaching capacity, he said.
England are probably an even tougher game – Smith
New Zealand beat France 25-24 in the semi-finals and England advanced to the final with a 26-19 win over Canada.
England have won 30 games in a row and Black Ferns manager Wayne Smith expects them to be even tougher than France.
“I think it’s still going to be an extra step, a challenge, obviously I’ve worked a lot on England like all the coaches. They’re quite scary, they’re so good at what they do.”
France and Canada will play for a bronze medal and both matches will be played at Eden Park in Auckland.