LIMERICK BUSINESSES HAVE been left to count the cost after it was confirmed yesterday that Andy Lee’s WBO World Middleweight title defence against Billy Joe Saunders would now take place in Manchester on 10 October rather than Thomond Park on 19 September.
Co-promoter Frank Warren confirmed on last night’s Off The Ball that about half the 30,000 tickets had already been sold for the fight — including over 4,000 UK sales — and expressed his confidence the event would have sold out had it gone ahead.
An economic impact study by Munster Rugby and BDO Simpson Xavier found that when the province played the Ospreys in the 2009 European Cup quarter-final — which resulted in some 3900 hotel bed nights — it generated €10.5 million for the city.
With many hotels in the city sold out in anticipation of the bout, business leaders in the city are understandably disappointed by the loss of the fight.
A spokesperson for Limerick City & County Council told The42:
“[We] working in partnership with Thomond Park to secure this event. The Council is naturally disappointed that the event is not going ahead on this occasion but the Council remains committed to working with Thomond Park to secure major sporting events into the future.”