The British and Irish Lions rugby tour to New Zealand in 2005 will be one of the biggest sporting events ever seen in New Zealand.

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Tickets to the 2005 British and Irish Lions Series to be played in New Zealand will be extremely hard to obtain. Information on how Lions supporters can get hold of tickets is available on http://www.allblacks.com, the New Zealand Rugby Union's official website.

Ticketing Overview

There will be an unprecedented demand for tickets to the British and Irish Lions matches and the NZRU will be running a ballot, which will provide a fair and transparent system.

New Zealand Post will be running the public ballot for the NZRU and up to 125,000 tickets will be available for purchase.

Members of New Zealand’s Rugby Community, season ticket holders as well as fans living in provinces where the Lions are playing will have an extra chance in the ballot through a ‘weighting’ system.

Other people and organisations, such as season ticket holders, will have access to ticket sales via direct offers.

Prices

There will be a range of ticket prices available from the NZRU and provincial unions, ranging from a $10 children's ticket to a provincial match, to $300 for the premium Test tickets.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and Southland: pricing will range from $10 for a child through to $100 for a premium adult ticket.

Taranaki: from $15 for a child through to $100 for a premium adult ticket.

Otago, Wellington and Auckland: from $20 for a child through to $120 for a premium adult ticket.

New Zealand Maori: from $20 for a child through to $150 for a premium adult ticket.

Test matches: from $80 in Wellington and $100 in Christchurch and Auckland through to $300 for a premium ticket at all three Tests.

Family-friendly prices

There will be family-friendly prices for provincial matches. For example, a family of four will be able to see*:

Bay of Plenty play the Lions in Rotorua for $90.

Southland plays the Lions in Invercargill for $90.

Manawatu play the Lions in Palmerston North for $90.

Otago play the Lions in Dunedin for $110.

New Zealand Maori play the Lions in Hamilton for $130.

  • Prices quoted are exclusive of booking/courier fee.

Ticket Allocations

The NZRU is contractually obliged to make tickets available to a number of groups. The biggest obligation is to the British and Irish Lions themselves. Eight thousand official ticket packages have been made available to Lions supporters. The British and Irish Lions have also been given an allocation for each of their provincial matches.

International Travel Packages

The NZRU has also allocated 2,000 tickets per Test match to the official travel and hospitality agents to sell to All Blacks and Lions supporters outside of Europe, in places such as Asia, Australia and North America.

Direct Offers and other Ticket Allocations

The NZRU and provincial unions will make direct offers to a number of organisations and people who have supported or served the game of rugby in New Zealand.

Stadium members – whose memberships give them the right to see all events at their local stadium – will be seated in their normal seat.

Season Pass Holders

2004 provincial season pass holders who renew their pass for 2005 will automatically receive a ticket to the Lions provincial match as part of their 2005 pass.

Season pass holders in the Test cities will have the right to purchase a ticket to the Test in their city.

Christchurch season pass holders will receive a 20 percent discount off their Test ticket offer. This is because season pass holders in the other Lions Test venues, Wellington and Auckland, will have the Lions matches against the Wellington and Auckland provincial sides included as part of their season passes for 2005.

Provincial unions will do their best to ensure season pass holders are sitting alongside other season pass holders they normally watch rugby matches with.

Season pass holders should also note that a physical ticket will be issued to all Lions matches, including those games which are part of any season pass.

The Rugby Community

The NZRU will be recognising the support, commitment and hard work of the thousands of volunteers and other people involved in the Rugby Community, by giving them a greater chance of securing tickets in the public ballot. The Rugby Community is made up of a large number of people who are integral to the running of the game in this country. It is important that they are given recognition. The NZRU in conjunction with the 27 provincial unions is collating all names on a Rugby Community database. It is estimated that this database will number more than 150,000.

People who think that they qualify as a member of the Rugby Community should contact their club or local provincial union.

For the purpose of the public ballot, the following groups are included in the definition of “Rugby Community”:

All registered players.

Coaches and other team management

Referees

Volunteers

Players, staff and office holders of NZRU associate member and related organisations, including the NZ Marist Rugby Football Federation, the NZ Universities Rugby Football Council, the NZ Rugby Foundation, the NZ Schools Rugby Council, the NZ Colleges of Education Rugby Football Federation, the NZ Rugby Museum Society of New Zealand, the NZ Deaf Rugby Football Union, the NZ Defence Force Sports Committee, the NZ Barbarians Rugby Football Club, and regional junior advisory boards.

The Ballot - How It Will Work

The ballot will be a fully automated process developed by NZ Post and their ticketing subsidiary, Red Tickets, and will be overseen by the NZRU.

Members of the public can register for the ballot in two ways:

1. Via the website, http://www.lions.co.nz.

2. By picking up a registration form from the more than 330 NZ Post Shops throughout the country.

The registration period will run from 1 November 2004 until 24 December 2004. No registrations will be accepted before or after this period.

The ballot will be run in February 2005. Fans who have been successful in securing tickets will be contacted in the weeks following the draw.

Ballot weighting

There will be different “weightings” for different groups in the ballot. Simply put, if you are a member of the Rugby Community, a season pass holder *or live within a provincial union where the Lions are playing a provincial match**, you will have a greater chance in the ballot.

The weightings for Lions provincial matches are as follows:

Member of the public outside game province – one chance

Member of the public in game province – two chances

Member of Rugby Community and season pass holder outside game province – three chances

Member of Rugby Community and season pass holder inside game province – four chances

  • To qualify for weighting in the ballot, you must be a fully-paid 2004 season pass holder as at 30 September 2004.

** The game province is defined by the boundaries of your local Air New Zealand NPC provincial union. There are two exceptions to this:

people living in the Horowhenua-Kapiti provincial union are considered, for the purposes of the ballot, to live in the Wellington area; and people living in the North Harbour or Counties-Manukau provincial union areas are considered to live in the Auckland area.

The NZRU also wanted to recognise the support of season pass holders in provinces which are not hosting Lions matches so they will receive the same weighting as the wider Rugby Community in the ballot.

The weightings for the Test matches as well as the New Zealand Maori match are as follows:

Member of the public – one chance

Member of Rugby Community and all season pass holders – two chances

The different weighting for these matches is due to the fact that they are ‘national’ matches.

Registering for the Ballot

The registration form, whether filling out online at http://www.lions.co.nz or at an NZ Post shop, will require you to give the following information.

Contact details

You will be asked to provide a range of contact details, including name and contact phone numbers. If you are successful in securing tickets, you will be contacted on your nominated phone number. It is crucial that you provide accurate contact details.

Match preference

You will be asked to prioritise the matches you want to get tickets for. If you register to secure tickets for one match only, then that will be your first preference. If, however, you register for more than one match, you will be asked to nominate a first preference, a second preference and so on.

Number of tickets

You will be asked how many tickets you require. For Test matches, you may register for one or two tickets. For all other matches, you may register for one, two, three or four tickets.

Ticket price range

You will be asked to nominate a price range you are willing to pay for tickets if you are successful in the ballot.

The ticket ranges for the Test matches are as follows:

1. upto $100

2. $101 - $200

3. $201 - $300

The ticket ranges for the provincial and New Zealand Maori matches are as follows:

1. upto $50

2. $51 - $100

3. $101 - $150

Once you have registered online, or if you include an email address on the registration form you send in, you will receive a confirmation email stating that your details have been logged for the ballot. If you do not have an email address, you will only be contacted if you are successful in the ballot.

Age restriction

To enter the ballot general members of the public must be over 16 years of age. Members of the Rugby Community who are under 16 can enter but will need to give their parent or guardian’s contact details. When the ballot is drawn, ballot staff will contact the parents or guardians.

Children’s tickets

For non-Test matches, you may request that any number of your tickets be children’s tickets, which are sold at a family-friendly price.

Each ground has allocated a certain number of children’s tickets to be distributed via the ballot. If you are successful in securing tickets but the children’s tickets to that particular match have already been allocated, you will be offered the opportunity to buy your requested number of tickets at full, adult prices.

Paying for your tickets

If you are successful in the ballot and you have accepted the ticket offer, you will have 48 hours to pay for the tickets and associated charges, including a booking fee and courier fee.

You will be able to pay:

• over the phone by credit card; or

• in person at a New Zealand Post shop, by cash, EFTPOS, credit card using New Zealand Post BillPay.

If payment is not received within 48 hours of your acceptance of the ticket offer, your tickets will be returned to the ballot pool.

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For more information please go to http://www.allblacks.com/lions.

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David Barton-Ginger