Additional spectators will be allowed into the Newcastle Cup should beach conditions allow for an increased crowd capacity, the World Surf League has confirmed.
The contest, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday, can now have a capacity of up to 5000 after the NSW government eased its COVID-19 restrictions on outdoor events.
It had initially been restricted to 3000, which left only 2700 tickets on offer to the public once surfers, officials and media were accounted for.
The World Surf League's Asia-Pacific general manager Andrew Stark said on Wednesday that the event would be opened up if it did not have to be moved and tides did not reduce spectator space.
"The issue we have is the beach can only take so many people," he said.
"So if we go to Dixon Park, because of the high tide mark we'll only be able to keep it at 3000.
"If we're at Merewether we do plan to open up and allow more tickets.
"We'll try and push up to that 5000 but we have to work with the NSW Police and look at the size of the swell and beach space.
"It's very different to a stadium where you know exactly how many seats you've got."
A free ticket ballot was held via Ticketek ahead of the event in order to ensure fans had a fair chance of attending.
Mr Stark said the WSL would likely make the extra tickets available at short notice due to the need to ensure there is space on the sand, but they would still be distributed through Ticketek.
"We'll put communications out that you can get more tickets through Ticketek, and you can do that very quickly on your phone - so even if you're here and we open up more tickets, you'll be able to QR code a ticket scanner and come in," he said.
"Most of the favoured days have been fully allocated, across Easter weekend and so on, but there are some spots some of the other days."
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