Auckland - Rugby officials said on Wednesday that tickets were still available for this week's gala Rugby World Cup opener as they faced a last-ditch sales blitz to reach their financial targets.
About 1 000 seats remain free in Auckland's revamped Eden Park venue for Friday's glitzy opening ceremony and the tournament's first game, between Tonga and favourites New Zealand.
Chief organiser Martin Snedden said the tournament needed to shift NZ$22 million (R 131.35 million) worth of tickets to reach its target of NZ$268 million (R 1.6 Billion), but he was confident the goal was within reach.
"In the last 100 days we have sold NZ$77 million (R 459.75 million) of tickets. We now have effectively just under 50 days to sell another NZ$22 million so this is very achievable," Snedden said.
"We are firmly on track and momentum is building as we always said it would once teams arrived and fans across New Zealand witnessed the tournament coming alive."
International Rugby Board (IRB) chairman Bernard Lapasset earlier said organisers had a target of selling 1.3 million tickets, meaning about 300 000 seats will be empty over the World Cup's 48 matches.
"We won't be far off the target. If we do reach the 1.3 million tickets mark, those who bought tickets will not be bored," Lapasset said last week.
The World Cup has been troubled by poor economic conditions in New Zealand as well as February's deadly Christchurch earthquake, which crippled a stadium preventing one of the country's main rugby centres from hosting matches.