Auckland - Rugby World Cup organisers breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday with their sales target for ticket revenue within touching distance with four matches remaining in the tournament.
Organisers said they had now achieved 99 percent of their ticket revenue target, having sold NZ$265.6 million (R1.62 billion) worth of tickets. They had targeted revenue of NZ$268.5 million (R1.64 billion) to achieve a NZ$39 million (R238 million) loss on the tournament.
About 1.35 million tickets had been sold.
Tournament organisers are only allowed to keep revenue from ticket sales and are forced to pay a hosting fee to the International Rugby Board and cover the costs of the tournament - about NZ$310 million (R1.89 billion) in total.
The operating loss is being underwritten by the New Zealand government and New Zealand Rugby Union.
"The way New Zealanders have embraced this event has been fantastic and we are thrilled to be in this position given the challenges we have faced," Rugby New Zealand (RNZ) 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden said in a statement.
About 7 000 tickets across most price categories were still available for the first semi-final between Wales and France, organisers said.
Category A tickets cost NZ$797 (R4 867), while Category D tickets are NZ$296 (R1 807).
Allocation for the second semi-final between New Zealand and Australia is currently exhausted, but a few hundred additional tickets were expected to be released later in the week, organisers said.
"Now that the four semi-finalists have been confirmed we expect strong demand for remaining tickets over coming days," RNZ 2011 general manager for marketing and communications Shane Harmon said.
"It's all or nothing for these teams, so we urge fans to move fast to secure their place at what will be two nail-biting encounters."
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