Auckland NRL Nines' organizers are confident their product will continue to draw the crowds, despite the declining fortunes of the Wellington Sevens and a sliding trend in ticket sales for the Eden Park event.
Less than 10,000 people attended each day of the Sevens last weekend - a far cry from the glory years - which has placed the future of the capital's annual tournament in doubt and put the spotlight on other events.
Duco Events CEO Dean Lonergan sympathized with the plight of the Sevens events, but was bullish about their own.
"I can't really comment on what happened in Wellington," said Lonergan. "All I would say is I've been to the Sevens a number of times and really enjoyed myself. I just look on now and it's a shame it has got to that point.
"But let's not forget [the Sevens] is not an event that is two or three years old.
It's 18 years down the track and they have had a stunning run of success. They are probably as frustrated as anyone trying to work out what is going on. I'd like to see them being successful."
However Lonergan says the Auckland Nines, which Duco runs in a joint venture with the NRL, has the formula for long term success.
"We have always focused on getting the best product on the field," said Lonergan. "We have delivered with internationals and State of Origin stars and this year could be our best yet in terms of big name players with Johnathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne appearing for the first time and others like Shaun Johnson, Blake Austin, Akuila Uate and Semi Radradra in town."
Around 26,000 tickets had been sold as of today, and Duco are hopeful of a crowd well in excess of 30,000 each day at Eden Park this weekend.
Those are impressive figures - especially in relation to other live events - but do reflect a downward pattern since the first edition of the Nines in 2014.
That weekend attracted more than 44,000 fans each day, which dropped to 40,680 in 2015. Last year's figure was around 37,000.
"We are happy with where things are at," said Lonergan. "We are at around 26,000 and it is obviously going to go higher over the next few days.
"Whether we sell out or not comes down to the Warriors - because the novelty factor has sort of disappeared. If the Warriors had made the top four or the eight - which at one stage they looked like they might - we would have been sold out by now."
"Most fans here have a second team - there is no doubt about that - but the Warriors are front and centre and as the hometown team they haven't been in the NRL finals for five years."
The tournament received a boost on Thursday, with the news that Benji Marshall will have his first run in Broncos colours in Auckland and Thurston also confirmed in the North Queensland Cowboys lineup.