With 53,000 seats already sold, only standing tickets and restricted view seats remain for the 2012 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series opener in Melbourne in 10 days.
All previously available tickets for the May 23 match at Etihad Stadium have been sold on the eve of team announcements for the NSW VB Blues today (Sunday) and Queensland XXXX Maroons tomorrow night.
The last time State of Origin was held in Melbourne, for Game 1 of the 2009 Series, 50,967 witnessed the Maroons defeat the Blues 28-18 at Etihad Stadium, while an average of 2.322 million viewers across the five capital cities tuned in to watch the series opener.
ARL Commission General Manager of Marketing and Commercial, Mr Paul Kind, said: “Once again Melbourne has proved to be a great choice to hold one of our marquee events.
“Not only do interstate Rugby League fans love coming to Melbourne, it is also a reflection of the continued growth of the game’s fan base in Victoria with strong local support.
“It is a credit to the Melbourne Storm and also the Victorian Government and a great advertisement for our game’s nationwide appeal that we have been able to have standing tickets and restricted view seats only available 10 days before kick-off.
“We expect more than 15,000 people to travel from NSW and Queensland for this match which qualifies State of Origin in Melbourne as one of Australia’s leading events in terms of economic return to the State hosting the event.”
The Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty, said the impressive ticket sales reflected Melbourne's ability to draw big crowds to top quality sporting events.
"State of Origin is such a wonderful spectacle where fans are treated to the excitement of competition of state against state, mate against mate," Mr Delahunty said.
"We're very much looking forward to welcoming visitors from interstate to enjoy a great match, right here in the sporting events capital of the world.
"It's wonderful to see such a strong response, and I urge those who haven't yet purchased a ticket, to be quick to secure a place to see the Maroons and the Blues battle it out at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday 23rd of May."
Both the standing room tickets and the impeded view seats have been released for sale because of the high demand generated for the event.
The cost of the standing room tickets is $30. The tickets will be available through Ticketmaster on 1300 136 122 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.au/origin