The Waikato Stadium booth couldn't open soon enough for passionate Chiefs fans yesterday who were eager to get their hands on the hottest tickets in town.
On Saturday night the Chiefs host a blockbuster of a Super Rugby semifinal against the Crusaders - a repeat of last year's match-up - and the 25,000 tickets are going steadily.
Chiefs chief executive Gary Dawson was pleased with the rate of sale but couldn't say how many had been sold, with season member and hospitality packages needing to be taken into consideration.
At one point Ticket Direct was processing 100 tickets per minute and a large queue at the stadium had formed by the time general public sales began at midday.
One of those was former Waikato lock Ron Lockwood, who has been a season member since Waikato Stadium opened in 2002.
Mr Lockwood said the defending champions would need to lift.
"It will be a big one, we're going to have to play at the top of our game if we're going to beat these guys."
Chiefs co-captain Liam Messam said it was crucial to fill the stadium with noisy Chiefs supporters.
"It really gives the boys a lift and is like having an extra man on the field."
Meanwhile, Waikato are preparing for their second pre-season Ranfurly Shield defence of the season, playing East Coast next Tuesday. Tickets for Saturday can be purchased from Gate One at Waikato Stadium from 8am-6pm each day, The Warehouse stores, www.ticketdirect or via the 0800 4 Chiefs phone line (between 8.30am-5pm).
Tickets are limited to 10 per person.
- Waikato Times