2015 Rugby World Cup final nearly 2000 per cent more expensive than 1987

An original 1987 Rugby World Cup final ticket, which cost $44 at the time.
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An original 1987 Rugby World Cup final ticket, which cost $44 at the time.

Tickets to this year's Rugby World Cup final cost 1700 per cent more than a seat at the 1987 final played in New Zealand.

Rugby fans lucky enough to score a ticket to the 2015 final, to be played at Twickenham next Sunday, would have paid between about £150 (NZ$340) and up to £715 according to the official ticketing website.

But an old ticket found in the vaults of the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North shows entry to the 1987 final between the All Blacks and France at Eden Park cost just $44.

All Blacks captain David Kirk lifts the William Webb Ellis cup after New Zealand beat France in the final of the ...
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All Blacks captain David Kirk lifts the William Webb Ellis cup after New Zealand beat France in the final of the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup tournament.

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Using the Reserve Bank's inflation calculator that is the equivalent of $88 today which is 1740 per cent cheaper than top-tier tickets to Sunday's grand final in Twickenham.

The 1987 ticket, which has turned brown with age, was for a seat in Eden Park's covered South Stand seat number 4, row G.

Tickets to the 2011 Rugby World Cup final were up to $1100 more expensive than what a ticket to the 1987 RWC final cost.
IAIN MCGREGOR/STUFF

Tickets to the 2011 Rugby World Cup final were up to $1100 more expensive than what a ticket to the 1987 RWC final cost.

Other tickets from the 1987 tournament from the archives show a Tonga-Wales match at Palmerston North Showgrounds cost just $1 a child, a ticket to the France-Romania match at Wellington's Athletic Park cost $12, while a covered seat in Invercargill stadium's main stand to watch Canada-Wales cost $20 - the same as a ticket to the All Blacks-Argentina in Wellington.

At the 2011 World Cup held in New Zealand, quarterfinal tickets ranged in price from $190 to $480, the semifinals from $290-$780 and a spot at the final went from $390-$1250.

New Zealander William Thomas, who lives in Dubai but is in Britain for the World Cup, said he paid £715 for a ticket to next weekend's final, which was about the same as the 2011 final.

"It's standard with international sporting events of this calibre these days," Thomas said.

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The Football World Cup final cost about US$1300 (NZ$1900) and the Super Bowl cost about US$2500, so the RWC final tickets were "pretty standard", he said.

 Journalist Jeremy Rees said he went to the 1987 final as a 24-year-old with his wife after he bought two tickets from the Tokoroa Rugby Club.

He doesn't remember how much it cost him but he was six months into his first journalist job, so it couldn't have been too expensive, he said.

"We were standing in the terraces so they may have been a hell of a lot cheaper," Rees said.

Auckland University of Technology School of Sport and Recreation associate professor Geoff Dickson said the cost of tickets had increased drastically over the years because the Rugby World Cup business model had changed since 1987.

A country hosting the tournament now, must pay a licensing fee.

For example Rugby New Zealand 2011 - the tournament organiser of the 2011 World Cup - had to pay the International Rugby Board (now called World Rugby) a $150 million licensing fee, he said.

"I suspect that licence fee didn't exist in 1987," Dickson said. 

The main way to cover that fee was through ticket sales, which put a lot of pressure on prices.

"That's basically the only source of income for the local organising committee so they're going to push that as hard as they can," he said. 

Also, the 1987 RWC was a throw-together tournament with a focus on finding out who the best team in the world was, nothing compared to the enormous commercial operation it was today.

"When we look back on the 1987 Rugby World Cup it was essentially a rugby tournament as opposed to a mega event," he said.

Rugby Museum director Stephen Berg said the original 1987 ticket would have been handed in by a fan.

 - Stuff

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