All the action as Auckland took on Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final.
Eden Park to screen All Blacks test after Mitre 10 Cup final
Eden Park will play the All Blacks' test on a big screen following the Mitre 10 Cup premiership final this Saturday.
Ground CEO Nick Sautner told the Radio Sport Breakfast the third Bledisloe test will be shown, and fans won't have to sit in their seats to watch it.
Sautner said fans will be allowed onto the field, and are encouraged to take picnic rugs to sit on, while on the hallowed turf.
Food and beverage will be available, but alcohol won't be permitted on the field.
Auckland host Canterbury in the final with the game kicking off at 4.05pm. The All Blacks and Australia meet in the third Bledisloe Cup test in Yokohama at 7pm.
It all adds up to what could be a challenging logistical exercise for the Eden Park staff.
Fans will be expected to go through the usual turnstiles – no ticket necessary – in order for numbers to be monitored.
But Auckland Rugby chief executive Jarrod Bear admitted earlier this week that even a rough estimate of the crowd is difficult.
"Given we've never opened the gates before [for free entry], and I'm not sure there's been an event like it, really we have no historical data to be able to forecast it," Bear told Radio Sport. "We just hope everyone enjoys the opportunity and takes it up and gets behind the team."
The concept probably goes against Marketing 101 too; that being if something is given away for free then it has no perceived value. It is also clear that Auckland Rugby will take a financial hit – they will receive no ticket money and yet face the same costs associated with hosting a game at Eden Park.
An average crowd for an Auckland game at Eden Park would be around the 10,000 mark. On Saturday there could be at least twice, if not three times, as many there.
One group who won't be disadvantaged are season ticket holders; their passes were reactivated without charge for last weekend's semifinal win over Wellington and will be again for Saturday's match. They have set seats outside members' lounges which aren't accessible by the general public.
Bear said the free entry idea was generated by Auckland Rugby's board. "It's been really positive and we're excited about being able to give back to our supporters," he said. "We want to get as many people as possible along on Saturday to shout for our team."
Asked whether there were any downsides, Bear said: "I'm not sure there was anything that freaked out anybody in the discussion because for us we want to put Auckland Rugby back on the map and really engage with our supporters but also the wider community in Auckland and break down the barriers [which have prevented them from] coming along, and give them a chance to experience Eden Park and an Auckland team in a final.
"We can only suggest that people get here early before what could be a mad rush."