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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Rugby chiefs cut ticket costs after autumn fiasco

Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

RUGBY chiefs will lose more than €1.1m in revenue by slashing ticket prices for the upcoming Six Nations games at Lansdowne Road.

Yesterday's drastic move by IRFU came after none of the first four international rugby games at the redeveloped stadium sold out -- despite matches against world champions South Africa and number one ranked New Zealand.

The new ticketing strategy introduces a tiered system with prices varying according to the location of the seats.

Previously, all seats had cost the same with the two upcoming games against England and France set to cost €200 for a two-game package.

The new price reductions range from 10pc at category one level to more than 60pc for schoolchildren, and will apply to 30,000 tickets for each game.

Despite the reductions, some 20,700 of these tickets will still cost more than €80. Ireland's Six Nations games against the ould enemy and France have traditionally sold out.

"You couldn't be confident of that [this year]," an IRFU spokesman told the Irish Independent last night. It's obvious that we'd gotten it wrong -- you saw the numbers that were there during the Guinness Series. You couldn't be confident of it. We fully understood that we had to change our prices to reflect the market and we had to reflect that.

"Those two games are obviously the most popular and have sold out before so we're hopeful that these ticket prices reflect what the public are happy to pay.


"But it's about finding the balance as international fixtures play a key role in generating the income required to manage and develop the game at all levels."

The difference in total income from a sold-out game at €100 a seat compared to a sold-out game under the new pricing structure is €565,000.

IRFU has split the tickets into six categories, with prices ranging from €15 for 1,800 schoolboy/ schoolgirl tickets in the North Stand -- a 62.5pc cut -- to 3,200 premium level tickets, which remain unchanged at €125.

The bulk of the tickets fall into category one, with 13,000 seats being sold for €90, a 10pc reduction. There are 4,500 category two tickets at €80; 5,000 in category three at €65, and 2,500 selling at €50.

The other 21,700 seats are taken up by 10-year tickets, away fans, sponsors, former internationals, press box, corporate hospitality, corporate boxes and committee boxes.

IRFU confirmed last night that there would be no "claw back" for people who had paid €15,000 for 10-year tickets three years ago. These tickets work out at €270 a game.

The association also confirmed there would be different pricing arrangements in place when France and England visit again in August ahead of the World Cup.

There were thousands of empty seats for the games against Samoa and Argentina in recent weeks while the games against South Africa and New Zealand also failed to sell out.

A combined ticket for South Africa and Samoa was priced at €150, while a ticket for the New Zealand and Argentina games cost €190. Initially, all four games had been sold as a package for €340.


Irish Independent

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