thehighlanders.co.nz 18.Feb.2013Getty Images
Alongside this increase, the total number of pre-paid tickets sold stands at just over 8,000.
This figure includes Forsyth Barr Stadium Members and the Highlanders own commercial ticket allocation and sees the franchise well on its way to its target of 10,000.
Highlanders General Manager Roger Clark was thrilled by the sales result and commented that local support for the team was phenomenal.
'It's a great result, and putting it in perspective, we now have more season ticket holders than do the Chiefs, Crusaders or Hurricanes'.
'We had to do a lot of hard work both on and off the field to re-engage our community over the past few seasons, and this result is a reflection of that work. A big thanks to those fans who have stuck with the team, and also to all the new season ticket holders who have joined the programme’ commented Clark.
'Forsyth Barr Stadium has been a big part of the resurgence, as well as the results on the field and the style of rugby the team is playing' added Clark.
'Jamie Joseph and his coaching staff have done a superb job assembling a talented squad including some big name players, and this has also been an important factor in the season ticket result'.
Off season signings included Brad Thorn, Tony Woodcock and Ma'a Nonu.
In 2010 the Highlanders hit a low of 890 season ticket holders, but progress over the last three years has been impressive. The retention rate of season ticket holders from the 2012 season has been 97%.
'We took a risk with taking our retention programme to the market in August, but the response from our existing ticket holders was outstanding'.
'We had very few existing ticket holders not renew, and to add another 1,000 fans on top has exceeded expectations’.
Individual game tickets went on public sale on 1 February, and sales across all matches had been strong.
'We've currently sold just under 14,600 for Friday’s game against the Chiefs, which includes all season tickets and members, so things are tracking well for our first home game of the season'.
The Highlanders have three home games to start the season; the Chiefs on Friday, the Cheetahs in Invercargill on 9 March and the Hurricanes back at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday 15 March.