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Ticket Sales Make Fans Question Why Newcastle Are Heading To New Zealand

10 years ago

Those who wondered why Newcastle were flying to the other side of the world in pre-season to the rugby stronghold of New Zealand, will be given further ammunition with news of ticket sales in Dunedin.

Newcastle United play Sydney FC at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 22, and despite it being the only fixture taking place on South Island, only 3,500 tickets have been sold in the three weeks since they went on sale.

A private company has now come to the assistance of Wellington Phoenix who are organising the four club event, with Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) paying a fee to underwrite the match between United and their Australian opponents.

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A crowd of 15,000 was originally hoped for but DVML are hoping now that they can bring in 9,500 paying customers to at least mean they won’t be losing any money

The original grand claims that both West Ham and Newcastle would attract thousands of exiled fans over from Australia, are now looking a bit optimistic, with a DVML representative saying that they are still hoping to attract outside people but, “we’re not going to get carried away on that one.”

When speculating originally about what kind of crowd the fixture could attract, the organisers had looked at previous football matches at the rugby venue, with Wellington Phoneix attracting 15,000 for their first ever game there, while their last fixture in March only saw 3,000 paying customers at the 30,000 capacity stadium.

A DVML representative said;

“If you were to be rational about next month’s crowd, it would sit somewhere in between (3,000 and 15,000).”

Hopefully there will be a surge of locals buying up tickets but it does look as though there can only be minimal benefits from this tour, both commercially and playing wise. With the suspicion surely that Newcastle United were offered the chance of the trip and didn’t really look proactively into planning the very best destination for the club both on and off the pitch.

While countless other clubs are going to places such as North America and attracting loads of extra investment on the back of the massive TV exposure and success last season’s new broadcasting deals brought over there, Newcastle are travelling to a rugby heartland with minimal to zero commercial benefits.

While it also looks like more people would have came and watched the first team if they’d travelled to Gateshead with the first team, instead of the reserves.

Plus, I haven’t even got to Alan Pardew if we lose our first few matches and what he’ll be putting forward as excuses after flying around the World…


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