With only 10 days to prepare for the 2021 State of Origin opener, Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium successfully did what no other stadium has done in the event’s history.

After the NRL was forced to move the game away from Victoria, the Queensland Government and Queensland Country Bank Stadium stepped in to keep the State of Origin series on track, hosting the first-ever Origin game at the stadium.

To have the event ready in time, various Ticketmaster teams had to react quickly and flexibly. As a result, after being notified of the game change Ticketmaster had the event built on site and on sale within a couple of days.

Tickets for the showdown were sold out within minutes. During the onsale period, Ticketmaster’s Smart Queue managed the flow of onsite traffic and created an extra level of security to ensure real fans were able to purchase tickets – with almost 67,500 fans queued, the highest number for an Australian or New Zealand event this year.

Seeing a huge boost to the regional city, the capacity crowd of 27, 533 fans broke the Stadium’s previous crowd record by more than 5,000 ticketholders. That record belonged to this year’s Cowboys V Broncos clash that saw 22,222 fans fill the stadium.

To cater to crowd demand, temporary grandstands added more than 2,000 additional seats to the venue – with the support scaffolding coming from the Gold Coast and the seats from Sydney.

Despite the short turn around, a huge effort from everyone involved including the NRL, Townsville Council, Queensland Government, Ticketmaster, and Pandanus Catering resulted in a hugely successful event resulting in more than $7 million injected into the local economy.

“As crowds continue to return to live events around the country, Ticketmaster was very excited to be a part of the sold-out State of Origin opener in Townsville. Our teams worked around the clock to get the event live in time, and with the help of our Smart Queue technology we were able to facilitate a smooth and successful onsale while dealing with the huge demand from sports fans. Working with the Queensland Country Bank Stadium team on this event was a fantastic experience, and we look forward to many more sell out events in the future,” Gavin Taylor, Ticketmaster Australia’s Managing Director said.

“With such short notice, it was an incredibly fast and furious couple of days of preparation, and we were fortunate we could rely on all our trusted partners to help achieve a successful event. Not only was there huge demand for tickets from fans, the event also required a new ticketing build to incorporate the additional temporary seating and Ticketmaster ensured this was a swift, straightforward and secure process for all,” Tom Kimball, Manager Queensland Country Bank Stadium Manager said.

Since opening in February 2020, Queensland Country Bank Stadium has allowed Townsville to host a series of world-class events in the city – with Sir Elton John, Queensland Opera, Horn V Tsyu, and the NRL all gracing the stadium.