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Magners League
Magners League scaling new heights
ESPNscrum Staff
March 2, 2011
Treviso's players run on to the field before kick-off, Treviso v Connacht, Magners League, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso, Italy, October 30, 2010
Treviso have had a beneficial impact on the Magners League © Getty Images
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Celtic Rugby chairman Andy Irvine has been buoyed by a report on the Magners League which has revealed that the tournament's popularity is continuing to rise.

During a recent meeting in Edinburgh it was revealed that attendances are up 30 percent following the addition of two Italian-based sides this season, Treviso and Aironi, with the former outfit currently averaging 4,500 fans per game. Consequently, the end-of-season gates tally is set to break through the one million mark for the first time in the tournament's history.

In addition, Wales has seen a 10 percent growth in viewing figures for Magners League matches, while the tournament's official website and club websites are attracting an average total of 900,000 unique users per month.

"The figures produced after the first half of our expanded season are hugely encouraging and a tribute to all the hard work that has been put in both on and off the field by the clubs, coaches, players, administrators and marketeers," Irvine said.

"We know we have an excellent, expanding product and it is great to see more and more people engaging with it. Some of the world's biggest names are playing in the Magners League and the level of competition on the pitch continues to rise. The on-field battles are set to reach fever pitch over the next few months as the fight for places in the Play-Offs on the road to the second Magners League Grand Final hots up.

"To use the marketing jargon, we feel we are really growing our brand and making incisive progress into our four national territories both on and off the field.

"Celtic Rugby has been administering the league since 2001 and this is only our 10th season. But even within those 10 seasons there have been substantial changes to the format and number of teams and, with the valuable addition of the Italians this season, it really has been a new beginning for us.

"In addition to that, the governance and control of the expanded Magners League has been taken over by CEO John Feehan's team in Dublin at the Six Nations and Lions office and their impact has already seen a number of new initiatives put in place, notably regarding discipline.

"As we march towards the second Magners League Grand Final on Saturday, 28 May, we have a clear leader at the top in Munster, but then have five teams within six points of each other. Just below the six there is a chasing pack of four clubs split by only seven points.

"Just as last season, when we first introduced the Play-Off system and Grand Final format, the battle for the top four places is likely to go down to the wire. The Magners League is on the march and the prestigious Grand Final beckons for two of Europe's top teams."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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