Riach defends price hikes for season ticketholders

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012

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Prices for Crusaders and Canterbury season ticket holders have been hiked.

A Crusaders "gold" season pass has climbed $102.50 from 2012. The price is now $475 if ticket holders do not take advantage of the $47 "early bird" discount.

At the lowest end of the scale "copper" subscribers can expect to pay $200, an increase of $52.50, if they don't purchase their subscription early.

Crusaders and Canterbury chief executive Hamish Riach defended the price rises, saying there had been a "re-classification" of seating for some subscribers and the packages still offered good value.

"In reality, we think the rises are modest," Riach said.

"There are a whole raft of reasons why they have gone up and it should be noted the Crusaders have an extra game next year. We don't think it is a big amount at all, especially when the discount for season ticket holders is taken into account."

Prices for match-day tickets would remain stable, Riach said.

Next year the Crusaders will play eight home matches in Christchurch, while Canterbury will host five NPC games.

The Crusaders' home matches are against the Bulls, Kings, Highlanders, Rebels, Blues, Waratahs, Chiefs and Hurricanes.

Season ticketholders will also have the right to buy a seat for the test between the All Blacks and France in Christchurch on June 15.

This year the Crusaders played seven matches in Christchurch. They were forced to play their round-three "home" match against the Chiefs elsewhere due to the Addington-based AMI Stadium not having been completed.

The board elected to play the match in Napier, where Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford play their provincial rugby, and it proved a rotten decision all-round.

It is understood the lack of consultation and the decision to play in the North Island, instead of Nelson, annoyed the team's management and the choice of venue also proved a financial fizzer because the crowd was smaller than anticipated.

TicketDirect, which has in the past raised the ire of some fans for slapping healthy fees on tickets, is also set to continue to be contracted by the Crusaders.

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