For the first time this century, the All Blacks will this weekend play a home Bledisloe Cup test to a backdrop of thousands of empty seats.
Eden Park may end up at half capacity, possibly more, and everyone will look at the unprecedented circumstances and blame them for the low uptake of tickets.
The game was only confirmed in the middle of last week, giving New Zealand Rugby just eight days of public ticket sales.
Their problem is being compounded by another unique circumstance - of playing consecutive tests at Eden Park, at a time when many household budgets have been devastated by the economic impact of Covid-19 lockdowns and closed borders.
But there may in fact be a deeper, hidden story playing out in regard to All Blacks tests at the moment – one that may force the national body to put its entire live experience offering under the microscope and ask whether Covid has exposed the need for a major correction in ticket prices.
Hosting tests has long been easy money for NZR and a major contributor to its balance sheet. In the last decade, the All Blacks have rarely failed to sell out a major test, or even a minor one, and revenue from this stream grew from $17m in 2016 to $28m in 2018.
What that growth indicates is that NZR has explored its pricing boundaries – nudging the cost of tickets up to see just how strong consumer demand is.
Whenever the escalating price of tickets has come up in the past, NZR has argued that they benchmark the All Blacks against other world-class entertainment options such as rock concerts and everyone seemed to accept that it was fair to compare a night out at Eden Park with a night out at Spark Arena watching Coldplay.
Pre-Covid, NZR was obviously getting that pricing right – managing to sell out venues and yet take higher yields.
But it feels like we are in a new world now where consumers, having spent much of the last 18 months without access to live events, have worked out they were possibly being massively ripped off.
Extended time in lockdown has helped everyone realise that we are living in a golden age for entertainment, being as we are, in the midst of a streaming, content war.
The likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus have been game-changers in opening everyone's eyes to the quality of entertainment that is available at the press of a button and for just $13 a month.
And this is why the price of test tickets – which appear to be ranging from $80 to $180 per adult – for this weekend's game, suddenly seem unsustainably high.
The reality for NZR is that they can no longer benchmark the price of an All Blacks ticket against the price of watching Coldplay – not when an inexhaustible supply of big-budget movies and gripping TV dramas can be beamed into the family home for $130 a year.
It's an incredibly hard sell to persuade consumers that 80 minutes at Eden Park is worth more than a year of Netflix. It's even more difficult now that people can make flexible commitments to rights holder Sky Sport – and pay less than half of the price of an adult ticket for a three-month subscription that comes with augmented graphics and cameras that can get the viewer virtually into the bottom of every ruck.
This is the new reality for All Blacks tests – they are competing against Star Wars and Breaking Bad rather than Coldplay and U2 and so too are they up against an emerging generation that isn't convinced yet that the live experience is all it is cracked up to be.
Gen Z and Millennials are not averse to attending live events, it's just they won't do it at any price, nor do they have that same acceptance of poor service justified on the basis of that's how it's always been.
And that's maybe what NZR has relied on for too long now to fill stadia – a sense of patriotic duty driving an older clientele: one that has been conditioned to accept crap food, expensive beer, and long queues and one that has laboured under the misapprehension that you go the rugby because there isn't much else to do in sleepy old New Zealand.
The All Blacks haven't played in front of a capacity crowd yet this year, which could well become the norm.