IRFU slash prices for Six Nations
THE IRFU have announced significant price cuts on tickets for next spring's home Six Nations clashes and have also introduced 'family tickets' for the first time.
Reductions vary from 16-40pc across the four stand ticket categories compared to 2010, but those prices were for the 'glamour ties' at home to France and England while next year Wales, Scotland and Italy will be the visitors to Lansdowne Road.
Prices will be staggered according to the opponents, with seats for the Wales match the most expensive, ranging from €40-€75, while the Italy game, priced at between €30-€55, is the cheapest. Seats for the visit of Scotland will cost €35-65.
Family tickets, which allow for one adult and one child, start at €45 for the clash with the Azzurri, with officials confident the new packages will result in a full capacity of around 50,000 for each of the three matches.
"We have tickets available at different category levels that give all our supporters an opportunity to come to the Aviva Stadium and see Ireland play," said Pat Fitzgerald, the IRFU's commercial and marketing committee chairman.
"Our ticketing strategy in August saw huge crowds coming to the Aviva Stadium and we feel that with the value on offer, there will be three full houses for the games against Wales, Scotland and Italy next year."
The IRFU also confirmed that the four provincial branches will not be required to purchase tickets for the Autumn Series to retain their Six Nations allocations.
However, the branch with the lowest uptake on tickets for the forthcoming Six Nations campaign will be handed a similar share for the 2013 campaign, when England and France return to Dublin.
The changes come about after the IRFU admitted "it had made an error in its ticketing strategy" for the 2010 Autumn Internationals when clubs were struggling to shift ticket packages which cost €190 for New Zealand/Argentina and €150 for South Africa/Samoa.
The clubs were facing taking significant financial losses but were reluctant to return their tickets for fear of jeopardising their Six Nations allocations. The IRFU eventually accepted payment for only tickets sold, as opposed to the entire allocation for each club.
That autumn, even the glamour tie against the All Blacks failed to sell out, and just over 35,000 turned out to welcome the world champion Springboks. There was an upturn in fortunes for the World Cup warm-up matches against England and France in Lansdowne this summer which were played in front of crowds in excess of 45,000. The FAI have also struggled to fill the new stadium despite gradual price reductions and the prospect of qualifying for a major championship for the first time since the 2002 World Cup.
The recent scoreless draw against Slovakia only drew a crowd of around 35,000 to the south Dublin venue as the economic recession continues to bite.
Through a range of ticket deals and initiatives, the GAA have managed to maintain the numbers watching their games.
Attendances across the board improved slightly on last year, with the turnstiles clicking past the one million mark during the All-Ireland SHC semi-final between Kilkenny and Waterford.
(Last four matches at Lansdowne Road)
Feb 12: Six Nations v France (50,000)
Mar 19: Six Nations v England (50,000)
Aug 20: World Cup warm-up v France (45,165)
Aug 27: World Cup warm-up v England (48,523)
FAI (excluding Nations Cup)
Mar 26: Euro Qualifier v Macedonia (30,000)
Mar 29: Friendly v Uruguay (20,200)
Aug 10: Friendly v Croatia (20,149 )
Sept 2: Euro Qualifier v Slovakia (35,000)