Phoenix rises in resort as Yellow Fever heads south

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Queenstown gets its first taste of big-time soccer during this year’s Winter Festival.

The Events Centre oval will host a showpiece exhibition game between Australian A-league champions Melbourne Victory and Kiwi team Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, June 27.

Phoenix supporters – dubbed the Yellow Fever – are expected to flock to watch their team play in the resort and are tipped to take over the grandstand.

Organisers hope for a crowd of up to 5000 due to the upsurge of interest in soccer in Queenstown in recent years – plus high numbers of Australians here for Winter Fest.

“We’re delighted the Events Centre is able to host yet another high-profile sporting event,” Lakes Leisure spokeswoman Karen Gemmell says.

“There are more than 700 kids playing organised soccer in the area now and we expect huge interest in the match.”

Phoenix finished sixth in last year’s A-league and attracted home crowds of 6000-7000.

And no doubt club owner Terry Serepisos will take time out to visit his plush Queenstown Hill property.

The Wellington-based developer attended the Lindauer Ball at last year’s Winter Festival – this year’s Ball follows the match at 7pm.

Last season’s A-league champions Victory won’t be used to playing in Wakatipu winter conditions – and the colder the better for our Aussie friends…

But plans have been made to switch the 2.30pm pre-season game to the Sunday if bad weather bowls in.

Tickets go on sale on May 25 from the usual outlets. For the Yellow Fever Grandstand Zone, they’ll cost $25 plus booking fee for adults and $5 plus booking fee for kids up to 18.

For embankment general admission, tickets are $20 and $5 respectively.