All Blacks' Sunday gameday puts dampener on Wellington's hospitality sector

The All Blacks' game in Wellington isn't quite drawing in the crowds the hospitality sector was hoping for.

Unfortunately, a Sunday game is dampening the excitement.

"We'd stand to lose at least 20-25 percent on a normal Bledisloe Cup weekend with missing out on the big Saturday night," says Wellington hospitality owner Jordan Mills.

The Mills family own nine restaurants, cafes and clubs in the city, and thanks to COVID-19 they've lost over $1 million in revenue.

A big rugby weekend normally packs out town on both nights.

"It's tough with the hit that we've had over the past six months, it's really disappointing," Mills says.

It's not just the bars taking a hit, many hotels are far from full.

"We've not had the surge in bookings we were hoping for a game of this magnitude," says U Hotel Group owner Suresh Subramaniam.

"There might be a lot of people driving in and driving back out."

Over 30,000 people will be walking through the gates on Sunday afternoon. It's the first time since 2012 the All Blacks have failed to sell out a Wellington game with 4500 tickets still up for grabs.

But even if this game doesn't sell out it's still the capital's busiest weekend since the first lockdown.

"It is so important for so many industries involved, important for the hospitality industry as people go out, important for retailers as people do a little bit of shopping, important for tourism attractions," says Wellington NZ general manager Anna Calver.

But for the Mills family, they're hoping the next big game will be a big Saturday night out.