Organisers hopeful of Cricket World Cup sellouts

BIG PRIZE: The Cricket World Cup on show in Blenheim.
BIG PRIZE: The Cricket World Cup on show in Blenheim.

Nelson's on board, Christchurch is excited about the prospect of international cricket returning to the city, now Cricket World Cup organisers need to galvanise the rest of the country.

Those organisers today launch a major charm offensive in the hope of capitalising on promising pre-sales and the cricketing goodwill created by the Black Caps' recent success.

The seven host cities will today hold celebrations and unveil count-down clocks for the 14-team tournament which begins one year from tomorrow.

Public ticket sales open tomorrow and there is an expectation that the major pool games, including New Zealand-Australia at Eden Park, the tournament's opening game between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch, and the New Zealand-hosted quarterfinal (Wellington) and semifinal (Auckland) will sell out quickly.

A World Cup delegation including Sir Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe, Sunil Gavaskar, Dean Jones and Gavin Larsen takes part in the festivities in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch while Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Dunedin host their own events.

All will include players who appeared in the last Australia-New Zealand co-hosted World Cup in 1992.

Christchurch hasn't hosted top level international cricket since before the 2011 earthquake and a newly developed, 20,000-capacity Hagley Oval should be an easy fill.

Nelson has been an easy sell for organisers as the northernmost South Island city enjoys its new ODI hosting status.

Tickets to the three matches there - West Indies v Ireland, Zimbabwe v United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh v Scotland - were also selling well as Nelson celebrated Saxton Oval's status as the country's 12th men's ODI venue and the city becoming the 10th in New Zealand to host a men's ODI.

The success of New Zealand's sold out win over the West Indies in Nelson last month also vindicated World Cup organisers' decision to choose the venue over Whangarei and Queenstown.

"The public got right in behind it and there was a real buy-in from Nelson and a really good vibe," said World Cup New Zealand boss Therese Walsh.

"It showed they were hungry for ODI cricket and the community really supported the city's bid and backed that up by going to the West Indies game which we thought was a big success."

Nelson is the only New Zealand city not to host the Black Caps in the tournament where plenty of the "uncontrollables" have fallen into place perfectly for organisers.

The national team's success is a huge help as was Scotland upsetting United Arab Emirates in the qualifying tournament final this month. By winning that tournament, Scotland now play two matches in Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South.

"When the ticket prices were announced, starting as $5 for kids and as low as $20 for adult tickets, I think that really made a difference too," Walsh said. "That's as cheap if not cheaper than going to the movies and you get a chance to see one of the top 10 sporting events in the world."

Public tickets go on-sale at 2pm tomorrow.


Today's events:

Auckland: Queen's Wharf 6.30am

Hamilton: Garden Place 7.15am

Dunedin: Octagon 10.30am

Wellington: Midland Park 12pm

Napier: Sound Shell 12pm

Nelson: Trafalgar Square 12pm

Christchurch: Re:start Mall 5pm

Fairfax Media