IRFU backs down over ticketing row
November 2, 2010
The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has been forced into an embarrassing climb down over its ticketing strategy for the upcoming autumn internationals.
The organisation announced last month that supporters could not buy tickets on an individual basis for Ireland's November Tests against South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina, meaning that those wishing to attend all of the games at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road venue would have to fork out a grand total of €340 (£280).
The announcement of the new pricing structure was met with widespread criticism, not least because the game-by-game breakdown of match ticket prices indicated a price hike of 25 percent in comparison to last year's Tests at Croke Park, and it sparked a revolt a club level and poor sales.
Despite initially insisting it would be standing firm on the issue, the IRFU admitted after a management committee meeting on Monday night that it had "made an error in its ticketing strategy" and promised to review the scheme after the conclusion of the national team's autumnal programme.
"There has been slower than expected demand for this autumn's Guinness Series," IRFU chief executive Philip Browne stated. "There are a number of elements impacting on this situation since the sales structure was drawn up in March 2010, including a further significant deterioration in the economic climate.
"While the situation varies from club to club we are aware that a number of clubs are still in possession of tickets for matches. In the interests of Irish Rugby, the IRFU, the Branches and the Clubs, must continue to work hard to sell these tickets right up to kick-off for each match.
"The IRFU do not want to see clubs suffer financial hardship as a result of being unable to sell ticket packages for this Guinness Series and consequently will only seek immediate payment for tickets sold. On completion of the series, the IRFU will work with the Branches and Clubs to assess the effect of the reduced demand for tickets.
"In addition the IRFU will undertake a comprehensive review of its entire ticket sales strategy, which includes price tiering, bundling and distribution channels. As part of this review, which will commence immediately on completion of the Guinness Series, it will consult widely with its stakeholders."
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