Lions are major box office

The British & Irish Lions are becoming one of the biggest box office teams in the history of Australian rugby with Saturday's third Test set to attract another record gate. [more]

Lions are major box office

The British & Irish Lions are becoming one of the biggest box office teams in the history of Australian rugby with Saturday’s third Test set to attract another record gate.

And with an average gate of 64,423 now predicted over the course of the three Tests on the 125th anniversary tour it will be a record breaking trip for the Lions, whose previous highest average was 60,275 in four Tests in South Africa.

The ANZ Stadium is preparing to install extra seating for the winner-takes-all clash in Sydney on Saturday and want to take the capacity up to 84,000 for the decisive game in the series. That would break the existing record for the reconfigured former Olympic Stadium of 83,418 for the 2004 Bledisloe Cup game between the Qantas Wallabies and All Blacks.

A gate of 84,000 will also take the global attendance figure for the 10-match Lions tour to 414,341 at an average of more than 41,000 per game. The 125th anniversary tour will also have seen the Australian Rugby Union benefitting from the sale of a massive 389,698 tickets sold in the nine games played in their country.

The figure for the 10 games shows a growth of 66,412 on the equivalent number of games played in South Africa four years ago and 51,841 on the attendances at the 11 games in New Zealand in 2005.

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The growth in Test attendances in Australia over the past three, three-match series has also shown a significant upward trend from 99,359 the last time the Lions won down under in 1989 to 178,253 in 2001 to a projected 193,270 this year.

Last weekend’s gate of 56,771 was a record for a sporting event at the Etihad Stadium and the 52,499 fans who attended the first Test at the Suncorp Stadium made that a stadium record for the iconic Brisbane venue.

The Melbourne Rebels enjoyed a record gate of 28,658 for their game and there were season highs for the Western Force, Waratahs and the Brumbies for their games against the tourists.
 

The Lions as a Global Attraction
Tour Tests Country Test Gates Average
2013 3 Australia 193,270 64,423
2009 3 South Africa 158,642 52,880
2005 3 Argentina / New Zealand 183,269 45,817
2001 3 Australia 178,253 59,417
1997 3 South Africa 150,900 50,300
1993 3 New Zealand 124,000 41,333
1989 3 Australia 99,359 33,119
1983 4 New Zealand 177,000 44,250
1980 4 South Africa 225,000 56,250
1977 4 New Zealand 193,000 48,250
1974 4 South Africa 238,500 59,625
1971 4 New Zealand 204,500 51,125
1968 4 South Africa 241,100 60,275
1966 4 New Zealand 197,425 49,356
1966 2 Australia 60,303 30,151
1962 4 South Africa 227,843 56,960
1959 2 Australia 32,521 16,125
1959 4 New Zealand 211,500 52,875
1955 4 South Africa 224,000 56,000
1950 2 Australia 40,510 20,255
1950 4 New Zealand 181,000 45,250
1938 3 South Africa 74,000 24,666
1930 4 New Zealand 139,000 34,750
1924 4 South Africa 52,000 13,000
1910 3 South Africa 24,000 8,000
1908 3 New Zealand 52,000 17,333
1904 3 Australia 74,000 24,666
1903 3 South Africa 16,000 5,333
1899 4 Australia 65,000 16,250
1896 4 South Africa 17,000 4,250
1891 3 South Africa 12,000 4,000

The Lions kick-off a massive month for the Sydney stadium in July, which also sees them host the vital third fixture in the State of Origin rugby league match and an All Stars v Manchester United soccer match. It all comes on top of an 81,000 crowd who cheered the Socceroos on to a place in the World Cup finals with their recent win over Iraq.

The usual capacity for the stadium is 82,500 and all public tickets for the third Test have already been sold. The extra 1,500 tickets are expected to sell-out pretty quickly.

For those fans who can’t get a ticket, Sydney Olympic Park Trust have announced it will have a ‘live site’ in the precinct on Saturday night to cater for the further 20,000 fans expected to arrive to soak up the atmosphere. The game will be shown on a big screen while fans will be entertained by live bands.
 

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