What’s happened to the Bledisloe Cup?
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Australia's Quade Cooper kicks midfield in front of Daniel Carter during the Investec Tri Nations rugby match between Australia Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks for the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday August 6 2011. (AAP Images/NZPA, Stephen Barker).
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The Sydney Bledisloe Cup is three and a half weeks away, but where is the buzz and promotion? This is one of my favourite sporting events of the year.
However, it doesn’t seem to hold the prestige it once did, at least on this side of the ditch.
Rugby supporters in Sydney complained when the ARU took the Bledisloe interstate in 2006 and 2007. When it returned to Sydney in 2008, rugby fans showed their support for the fixture by almost selling out the ground. Again in 2009, the ground was almost at capacity.
In 2010, the Australian Bledisloe fixture was held in Melbourne and was in Brisbane for 2011.
Now the Bledisloe is back in Sydney. However, ticket sales are around the 50,000 mark and corporate sales are down from previous years.
In the not so distant past, the Bledisloe would be sold out in an hour.
These days a crowd of 70-75,000 is the norm, leaving a lot of empty seats at the former Olympic venue. Why?
One of the great rugby events each year in the biggest city in our nation and we can’t fill the stadium. It’s a real concern for the game.
This raises a lot of questions. Is it ticket prices? Is it lack of promotion? Is it the state of the game which seems to get belted from pillar to post in the media?
Is it the fact that the Wallabies haven’t won the Bledisloe in 10 years?
The NSW Blues haven’t won the Origin series in seven years, yet their supporters turn up every year to almost sell out the stadium on a Wednesday night, sometimes twice a year.
If Australia has any chance of winning back the Bledisloe, they need a strong home crowd behind them.
Why are rugby supporters abandoning the Wallabies in the biggest event of the year?
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