Rugby tix sales surge on the Net

Sales of the tickets for the Rugby World Cup have provided a boon for Ticketek's online transaction site with last Monday being's busiest day of trade.

Ticketek is the major provider for RWC 2003 tickets. It is responsible for selling tickets to games played in NSW, ACT and Queensland -- thirty-three of the tournament's forty-eight matches. Ticketmaster has been assigned Victorian and Western Australian matches, with Venue*Tix responsible for South Australia (tickets there have been sold out) and Centertainment, which does not have an online trading site, responsible for the game in Tasmania.

Since the public sales launch on Monday, 18 August more than 60 per cent of Ticketek's total tickets were sold through Ticketek's online retail channel. Monday was the busiest day since the site's inception in 1997. The rest of the sales came via phone and in person.

Ticketek CEO Peter Stirling Benson, said sales for Rugby World Cup 2003 have already surpassed everyone's hopes and this week's sales show that interest in the matches is still "running high, especially online".

Prior to Monday's sales members of the Australian Rugby Union were allowed to buy tickets from the ARU. However on Monday tickets were made available for general public release through the four major ticketing providers.

As a result of the sale of rugby tickets the site this week experienced three times as much traffic than for any event previously. And in the first three days of sales the site received over 900,000 page impressions per day with an average page duration of 0.47 seconds, and an average session duration of 9.37 minutes.

Despite the rise in hits to the site Benson said no changes were required at the company's hosting provider, Hostworks. Hostworks also hosts the NineMSN portal as well as provide streaming for the cricket site BaggyGreen.

Benson said the increased load did affect the page response time, however, testing showed that it had not changed substantially. "Rugby users should experience the same response time as during any normal event plus or minus 10 per cent," he said

Ticketmaster was contacted for comment to this story but had not provided a response to questions before the time of posting.