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Ireland eases restrictions, clubs cash in on ticketing revenue

Ireland’s sports clubs and stadiums will receive a major €72m (£60.3m/$81.5m) ticket boost over the next year, after capacity limits were removed for events.

Most of the restrictions that were in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have been removed in the country, with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin announcing that capacity limits for indoor and outdoor events will no longer apply.

The removal of restrictions means that the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and Football Association of Ireland (FAI) will now be able to host events without limits on ticket sales. According to reports, this could mean a €72m uplift for the sporting associations which have been hit hard during the pandemic.

Munster Rugby listed an additional 11,000 tickets for yesterday’s (Sunday’s) game against Coventry-based Wasps in the European Rugby Champions Cup in response. However, the club still capped the number of tickets for sale at 16,000 because of the short turnaround.

In a statement, the club said: “As a result of this welcome late change in Government measures, the number of spectators attending the venue on Sunday will now be increased from 5,000 to 16,000. The capacity will be capped at this figure due to the short turnaround and limited operations in place for Sunday’s game. We appreciate the wider understanding on this front.”

It is also good news for fans of the upcoming Six Nations, where Ireland will be taking on Wales in just under two weeks’ time in their opening match at Aviva Stadium (pictured). Attendees will also no longer have to show COVID passes for entry.

Ireland are also hosting Italy and Scotland at home and are travelling to play France and England.

In a statement, the IRFU said: “Throughout the pandemic, the Government has been committed to sport and we thank them, particularly Ministers Martin and Chambers and all of our colleagues at Sport Ireland.

“We also thank Aviva Stadium director, Martin Murphy, for acting as chair of the working group that represents the GAA, FAI and IRFU, and for all his work to deliver our programme of events at Aviva Stadium.

“The IRFU looks forward to welcoming our clubs, schools, sponsors, patrons and supporters from Wales, Italy and Scotland, back to Aviva Stadium for an exciting 2022 Guinness Six Nations.”

Stadiums in the country will further benefit from the removal of capacity limits, as a series of concerts are due to take place at Croke Park, Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Aviva Stadium, meaning boost in ticketing and event revenue.

Image: Diego Alves on Unsplash