Southern sideline fare scores on price

Hungry punters at NPC rugby games can expect to pay 55 per cent more for sideline snacks in Auckland than in Invercargill, but some Southlanders remain disenchanted by local offerings.

Eden Park has the country's most expensive fare of any NPC stadium, charging $8 for a PET beer and $6 for a gourmet lamb and roast vegetable pie.

In contrast, Taranaki's Yarrow Stadium and Invercargill's Rugby Park sold Tui and Speight's beers for $5 and pies for $4.

Despite the price disparity, Pete Smith bemoaned the cost of Rugby Park beer in a letter published in the Southland Times on Thursday.

"Prices per can of beer are now at $5 each. That equates to $60 a dozen compared to $18.20 in a shop over the road. Fans are restricted to four per person and the tabs are opened," Smith said.

"Is this to promote faster consumption before the drinks go flat and hence more are bought at $5 each?

"I'll be smuggling mine in from now . . . I won't be robbed blind to help sponsor the gentlemen who get theirs free by being in the right network or a corporate box."

Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley said Smith's complaint was the first time they had had "major pushback on prices". He said rugby unions had surveyed food and beverage prices at stadiums around New Zealand in 2012 and found Rugby Park's were "substantially cheaper than most."

"Pretty much [Smith has] gone out and compared the prices to those at the local liquor outlet across the road," Hopley said.

"Realistically, we can't sell to compete with liquor outlets, we're not allowed to. I think we price fairly."

Eden Park venue catering manager Paul Marquardt said he understood why Eden Park's pie, handmade on site, was more expensive than those sold at other stadiums, which came from suppliers and were sold in bags.

"It's our point of difference," Marquardt said. They had sold beer for $8 for the past two years, he said.

"Buying a beer from the stadium is still cheaper than buying one from a bar in the area."

The Press