Martin Breheny: Rugby less prone than GAA to being tackled when it comes to ticket touts
Three days to go to the big Ireland-England rugby clash and the ticket-touting market is buzzing.
Whether on websites or in advertisements in national newspapers, it's clearly a bonanza time for touts - whether of the corporate variety or sole traders - with asking prices soaring well above the levels associated with All-Ireland finals, which are always high-demand events too.
But here's a thing. Every year, the GAA gets criticised for not doing more to limit the black market, with politicians and consumer representatives guaranteeing themselves publicity as they take aim at Croke Park.
Try this from Dermott Jewell of the Consumers' Association of Ireland (CAI) before the Dublin-Mayo football final last year.
"The GAA's eye is off the ball when it comes to touting - it is far too easy to abuse the current ticketing system," he declared, without producing a shred of evidence to support his theory.
So far, I haven't read anything from the CAI or politicians either about the touting that's going for Saturday's rugby game. Nor has the IRFU and its ticket distribution system been subjected to anything like the same level of scrutiny as the GAA by the media. Surely what's good for the GAA goose should be equally good for the rugby gander!
Ironically, black market demand for Saturday's game would be much less if were in Croke Park (82,300 capacity), rather than Lansdowne Road (51,000). Croke Park would gross around €2.5 million extra in gate receipts, leaving both the IRFU and GAA as big winners, not to mention the 31,300 extra people who would get to attend the game.
Presumably, the naming contract with Aviva prevents such a move but shouldn't that be looked at before any new deal is completed after this one is finished.