MADRID, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Bilbao is gearing up for an expected 50,000 visitors as the city's San Mames Stadium hosts two major rugby finals from May 11 to 12.
San Mames is usually the home of Athletic Club Bilbao, but on May 11 it hosts the final of the European Challenge Cup between Gloucester and Cardiff Blues, while the following day it is the turn of Lenister Rugby and Racing 92 to contest the Champions Cup.
About 31,000 tickets have already been sold for the first game and 46,000 for the second, meaning a huge number of rugby fans will test the city's infrastructure to the limit.
The first move the local authorities has decided on is to extend the opening hours of the city's bars and restaurants by two hours, ensuring a bumper 48 hours for that sector of the economy.
It has been calculated that 40 percent of people attending the finals will be from the Basque region and Spain with 50 percent travelling from France and the remaining 50 percent from Ireland and the United Kingdom, with around half of the visitors arriving in Bilbao on the day of the first final.
The city has organized a fan zone which will be open for 13 hours on May 11 and also the following day, while numerous activities have been planned for all over the city, with public transport services expanded to meet the extra demand.
Meanwhile the Bilbao Municipal police and Ertzaintza (Basque regional police force) have carried out a "detailed" study of risks in order to "transmit a feeling of safety," for what promises to be a great 48 hours of sport.