Footy ticket sales disappoint
Wellington Phoenix management has made a last-minute plea for the public to get behind a "historic" game at Westpac Stadium tomorrow.
Early this week Wellington promoters said the capital would be booming as supporters descended for the Football United double-header clash featuring Newcastle United against Wellington Phoenix, and West Ham United against Sydney FC - with Phoenix manager David Dome predicting ticket sales to significantly increase from 27,000.
But yesterday sales had reached only 27,500.
Dome said this was "disappointing" considering the Phoenix's shock 2-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday night at Auckland's Eden Park in front of 19,180 spectators.
The club was "a couple of thousand people shy" of breaking even in Auckland, he said. About 10,000 had watched Newcastle United thump Sydney FC 4-0 in Dunedin. "We are not on track to fill the stadium with 32,000 fans that these two magnificent [English Premier League] clubs deserve."
Two Premier League teams, playing in the same venue, was a historic occasion for New Zealand and "highly unlikely to happen again".
New Zealand should show its appreciation for the ambitious event, which had taken two years to arrange, Dome said. "And we want to do it again, but it will be very difficult unless we get another four to five thousand people to the event this weekend."
Wellington Phoenix were only the second team in the A-League to beat a Premier League team and were still buzzing about the game.
They were keen to see a sellout crowd at home for a possible historic double.
Dome encouraged those considering buying a ticket to pre- purchase because gate sales would cause delays.
Westpac Stadium manager Shane Harmon said tomorrow was aimed at being a day of fun for all the family.
If parents with children wanted a break from the football, there was plenty of free entertainment, amusement, music and demonstrations throughout the day.
He encouraged fans to arrive early and warned people not to turn up drunk as there would be a strong police presence.
Gates are open from midday until the end of the second game.
MEET AND GREET
There will be an official mayoral welcome for the four teams at Midland Park at 1pm today. Deputy mayor Justin Lester said: "This will be a good chance for football-mad fans to get up close and get a selfie or autograph with four members of each team."
Follow and join our live blog from 1.45pm at dompost.co.nz
The Dominion Post