It is an amazing country to say the least (and that story is for another article) but I had the opportunity to meet with a few great sports professionals during my trip.
One of them was non other than sports ticketing and online marketing genius Shane Harmon.
Shane is General Manager of Marketing and Communications for Rugby New Zealand 2011, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for Rugby World Cup 2011. He holds responsibilities in Marketing, Ticketing, Media and Communications, Ceremonies and VIPs.
I had a chance to spend some time with Shane and hear about what his team has done to strategically promote the games and sell the maximum amount of tickets in what is considered a very small market in New Zealand to host such a large event.
The commercial model differs between major events. For Rugby World Cup, ticketing is the sole source of revenue for the LOC. The Tournament owner, the International Rugby Board, retains all other revenue such as sponsorship and broadcast, which it invests in the growth of the game globally.
The ticketing numbers are big by international standards. However, by New Zealand standards they are huge. Shane and his team have a sales target of 1.4 Million tickets worth $268 Million NZD for the 6 week tournament. With 8 months to go they are on track with 60% of the tickets sold and 85,000 international visitors confirmed.
In the interview below, Shane talks about the ticketing challenge and how RWC 2011 has embraced Social Media to address that challenge. I hope you enjoy the video, and feel free to share you thoughts on what Shane and his team are doing with the RWC.