Pulse followers buy up season tickets

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Katrina Grant
Photosport
KATRINA GRANT: Leading from the front for the Central Pulse.

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The Central Pulse have already exceeded this year's season membership tally, despite the fact their next home game isn't till April.

The trans-Tasman netball league franchise boasted 144 season ticket holders last year, which rose to 330 this year.

The Pulse begin their next campaign with an away match against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on March 24.

They then host the Queensland Firebirds on April Fools' Day at Te Rauparaha Arena, where 345 of the seats have already been snapped up by eager new season-ticket holders.

The membership numbers are still modest and the $150 price tag, which gets you in to the three games at Te Rauparaha and three at TSB Bank Arena next year, is hardly bank-breaking. But any time you can convince record numbers of punters to part with their money, you must be doing something right.

"We've done a lot but there's still a bit to do," Pulse general manager Kyla Lange said.

"We're ahead of the game compared with previous years, which is great, because the feedback has been that we were always playing catch-up."

Capacity at Te Rauparaha, the official "home of the Pulse", is about 2000, while the TSB venue seats about 3800.

Average home crowds climbed by 1000 this year, to 2500, and that increased demand led to more matches being scheduled at TSB Arena for next year.

Neither venue has a limit in terms of how many season ticket holders it can accommodate.

"I would love to have the whole place sold out by members. For us, the members are the people that have been with us through thick and thin, and they're the ones we want there every week," Lange said.

Rather than just general admission tickets, which previously made it first-in-best-dressed on game night, there will be allocated seating at Pulse games next year.

Members would get the best of those seats, Lange said.

"It's such a great time at the moment," Lange said.

"Our memberships are tracking well and with our sponsorship, we're running out of things to sell. We've actually got people coming to us wanting to be sponsors."

On the court, a good chunk of next year's squad fly out for Glasgow on Sunday to take part in the six-team World Premier Club Challenge.

The 10-strong Pulse Invitation Squad, as it is being called, includes Caitlin Thwaites, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Daya Wiffen, Victoria Smith, Claire Kersten and Amber Bellringer, along with England-based Liana Leota, who will meet her new team-mates there.

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Next year's official Pulse squad will be fitness tested before Christmas and then assemble in Wellington, along with Invercargill-based coach Robyn Broughton, in mid-January.

Broughton and 10 of the players will be based in Wellington from then on, with Donna Wilkins commuting from Southland and Leota expected to do the same from Palmerston North.

- The Dominion Post

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