Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner says his 50,000-capacity venue is aiming for a sellout this weekend when the Blues and Hurricanes clash as part of the first professional rugby competition to have crowds.
Following this afternoon's announcement that New Zealand will transition to Covid-19 Alert Level 1 tonight, Sautner told 1 NEWS Eden Park is up for the challenge of being one of the first venues globally to host a large-scale event post-Covid.
"We're encouraging people to pre-purchase so we know how many people [are coming to the game]," Sautner said.
The Blues were quick to begin advertising ticket sales follow this afternoon's announcement, with children able to get in free with a paying adult and entry starting at $20.
Sautner said they welcomed anyone and everyone to celebrate the return of rugby as well as New Zealand's milestone against the coronavirus pandemic this weekend.
"Hopefully, we can get close to a sellout on Sunday," he said.
"Over the last 10 years, we've averaged about 20,000 to 30,000 for the big fixtures - we're hoping to exceed that."
Sautner expected the club debut of star first-five Beauden Barrett to also help with sales.
"There's been a lot of interest... [With a] family-friendly time at 3:35pm on Sunday, it gives people the opportunity to come down and experience rugby at the national stadium."
Prior to the Blues-Hurricanes clash in Auckland, Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium will earn the honour of hosting New Zealand's first sporting event with a crowd when the Highlanders and Chiefs open Super Rugby Aotearoa on Saturday evening.