Why the NRL needs NSW to win Origin II
The NRL stands to lose $3 million should State of Origin III in Sydney be a dead rubber.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal a crowd of around 55,000 would attend ANZ Stadium on July 10 for Origin III should the series already be decided.
However, a Blues victory in Game Two at Perth's Optus Stadium on Sunday week to level the series would virtually guarantee the decider would attract a sellout crowd of 83,000.
If the Maroons prevail it would ensure around 28,000 empty seats at the vast Homebush stadium.
With the average ticket price for the Sydney game costing around $90 to $100 - plus a significant hit with merchandise sales on the night - the NRL would lose around $3m.
Queensland lead one-nil after victory last Wednesday night and can seal the series with a historic win at Perth's new state-of-the-art stadium, which is nearing a 60,000 sellout. There are only a few hundred tickets remaining.
NSW fans have shown in recent years that ANZ Stadium will be sold out for a decider or games one or two.
But a dead rubber will be a tough sell for the NRL and there has even been a suggestion that upper-tier seating could be offered at reduced cost.
Officials claim a crowd for a dead rubber would be between 50,000 to 60,000. Others in the game fear it could drop below 50,000.
NSW and Queensland players will be under pressure to complete additional media and promotional work should Sydney be a dead rubber.
Exorbitant ticket prices prevented Origin I in Brisbane being an official sellout although a late walk up did push the official crowd to 52,191.
Having both games at the traditional homes of State of Origin - Sydney and Brisbane - fail to sell out would be embarrassing for the NRL.
A Queensland series win before Sydney would also significantly impact on television ratings, according to media industry sources.
Corporate support would also have the potential to wane. The NRL preferred not to comment until after the Perth game.
Around 25,000 interstate fans will travel to Perth for the match, injecting a significant amount of money into the local economy.
Insiders claim it again shows the value of investing in stadium infrastructure. It is understood the NRL bank around $30m each series through Origin.
NSW coach Brad Fittler will name his squad for Origin II this Sunday night. The Blues will fly out for Perth early Monday and will set up camp at Scarborough beach until Friday, when the team will shift into the Perth CBD to finalise preparations for the big game.
This will be the first Origin game played in Perth, locals saying the anticipation and expectation has been building for weeks.