20,000 expected at Phoenix season finale

Phoenix ticket sales boom for Sunday

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 13:06 23/03/2012
Ben Sigmund
Fairfax NZ
FAN LOVE: Ben Sigmund offers his autograph to a female fan.

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A 20,000-strong crowd is expected for the final Phoenix game of the regular season.

Thousands will be streaming into the Westpac Stadium on Sunday to watch the fourth-placed Phoenix take on the Central Coast Mariners.

Phoenix head of marketing David Dome said pre-sales had been strong, with a large number of gate sales expected on the day.

"Sales are well in excess of the games earlier on in the season when the crowd support hadn't fully kicked in. In previous seasons when we've been in a similar position on the table we've pulled big numbers for the last home game.

"We're on track for a fantastic turnout."

Big games in previous seasons have attracted as many as 24,000 fans, with many making the journey from outside the Wellington region.

"When you are getting up near 20,000 it tends to be that you're pulling in people from a wider area. We've got supporters who come every week from as far away as Whanganui and Hawke's Bay and all indications are that we'll be getting lots of those visitors this weekend."

The crowds had improved after co-owner Gareth Morgan's call to arms earlier in the season, Mr Dome said.

"Gareth certainly put the challenge out there to the people of Wellington to say that if you want a professional football club then you've got to come out and watch them play.

"He brought the issue to a head and people responded to that really well. It's been great."

Fans will also be treated to a debut performance of Dane Rumble's latest single before kick-off.

The New Zealand pop star will warm up the crowd from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, before the game gets underway at 4pm.

Mr Dome said the "Dane Rumble effect" had helped to improve sales.

Rumble, who was Best Male Solo Artist in 2010 told Phoenix promoters he was looking forward to the occasion.

"The Phoenix have had such a fantastic season, and I'm really excited to be a part of the final showdown in Wellington. Looking forward to playing some brand spanking new songs for the home crowd too."

Wellington Phoenix spokesman Russell Gray said it was an important match for the team, whereby a win or draw would mean coming third was still possible.

The Phoenix have already secured a home game for next week's playoffs.

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- The Dominion Post

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