Munster eye crowd boost with price cuts
As Munster seek to consolidate after failing to qualify for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 13 seasons, the province confirmed yesterday that Magners League ticket prices will be cut significantly from next season.
Munster's early European exit led to speculation that there would be a drop-off in support, but a healthy crowd of 20,000 turned up at Thomond Park for their Magners League win against Edinburgh on February 18, and cutting ticket prices should certainly help to keep supporters turning out for the lower-profile matches.
It is also a reflection of the difficult economic times and a concerted effort to attract families to Thomond and Musgrave Park following the success of Leinster's family approach at the RDS. Terrace and Category B seated tickets, which account for 70pc of the total available league tickets, have been cut by 14.3pc and 9.1pc respectively and are now priced at €30 (Category B) and €20 (terrace).
The family focus sees the existing Terrace Family Pack (two adults and two children) reduced by €10 to €40 per match, with season tickets available from €34.40 per family per match.
Furthermore, next season sees the introduction of Category B seated family packs costing €80 per match. Adult and Child Category B Seats costing €40 per match will both be available as season tickets.
"We felt it important to review our Magners League ticket pricing, bearing in mind the current economic climate and financial pressures that we are all under," said sales and marketing manager Glyn Billinghurst.
"We also wanted to establish a family ticket package that provided real value, whether in the terraces or the stand.
"We are looking to provide our 10-year ticket-holders and Munster Rugby Supporters Club members with a range of additional exclusive ticket offers through the season that will both reward their loyalty and provide opportunities for their friends and family to come along to the Magners League."
Supporters can receive discounts of 20pc and upwards on individual match prices by purchasing season tickets through the Munster clubs or the Munster Rugby Supporters Club, whose membership opens in April.
The IRFU also announced yesterday that they are seeking applications for the position of head of fitness at Munster with a closing date of March 18 and the successful candidate required to take up the position at the start of June.
Meanwhile, Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin is looking to build on the 32-13 hammering of Cardiff Blues when they host Aironi on Friday night.
"The win over Cardiff was probably the best we have played all season," he said. "Now it is a case of building on that and keeping the concentration up."
Ireland squad members Paddy Wallace and Tom Court are expected to return to the starting line-up while Tim Barker is set to pack down with skipper Johann Muller in the second-row again.
Court is likely to start at tight-head and play for a half against Aironi's grizzled old front-row, with Declan Fitzpatrick moving to the bench. Paddy McAllister will earn a start at loose-head in place of Bryan Young, who suffered from a minor back spasm last week.