League: Penrith Panthers hoping for sell-out crowd for Christchurch showdown with Warriors

Kiwis star Peta Hiku in action for the Penrith Panthers during last Saturday's NRL trial match against the Canterbury Bulldogs at Pepper Stadium. Photo/Getty
Kiwis star Peta Hiku in action for the Penrith Panthers during last Saturday's NRL trial match against the Canterbury Bulldogs at Pepper Stadium. Photo/Getty

The Penrith Panthers' decision to take their NRL match against the Warriors to Christchurch looks to be paying off with almost a third of tickets sold three months prior to the May 14 clash at AMI Stadium.

Organisers are hoping the sell-out sign will be up well before match day after 5000 of the 17,500 seats were snapped up within 10 days after ticket sales for the round 10 match began on February 5.

Match promoters Wallace Douglas Ltd were always confident the ground will be full on match day, but have been pleasantly surprised by the early surge in ticket sales.

"We knew there is a big appetite for NRL in Christchurch, as well as the desire to witness elite sport and be part of a major event, but we are glad to see that this belief has been confirmed," said Justin Wallace.

"At this stage I would remind local fans not to wait too long to decide to come along because they may be left empty-handed."

A high number of ticket sales have come from beyond Christchurch and Wallace believes visiting fans will play a large part in creating a rugby league carnival around the match and provide a significant economic boost to the city.

"The Ticketek system allows us to track where the fans are coming from and at this stage about a third of the fans are coming from all over New Zealand and Australia," he said.

"If the current trend continues we could have 6000 visiting Penrith and Warriors fans coming to Christchurch. Based on conservative economic impact tools, that would equate to over three million dollars of extra spending in our city."

The match will be the first of four home games the Panthers will play in Christchurch over the next four years.

The western Sydney club has also committed to bringing a comprehensive community and rugby league development programme to Christchurch during the lead-up to the matches.

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