IRFU hope to keep World Cup prices down with terraces and €15 tickets

IRFU chief Philip Browne wants to avoid temporary seating if Ireland win the right to host the 2023 tournament.

Westmeath fans on Hill 16
Westmeath fans on Hill 16
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IRISH RUGBY FOOTBALL Union CEO Philip Browne feels that the presence of terracing in Irish stadia is an important factor in the bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023.

All-seater stadia have become the perceived desired norm for new venues across the world since the mid 90s.

However, with the list of proposed venues to host the Rugby World Cup dominated by GAA venues, Browne and the Ireland 2023 bid are hoping to convince World Rugby to allow them work without seating in areas of many grounds.

“We can put temporary seating into the stadia, so they can be all seated, but we would actually prefer not to do that,” Browne said after today’s official launch of the RWC 2023 bid at the Aviva Stadium.

“We think retaining a certain level of standing terraces does two things for us:

Firstly, it provides us with the opportunity to sell tickets at an accessible price to real rugby fans. We believe that’s an important thing to do.

“The second thing we can do is, for those of you who are around long enough: the atmosphere in most rugby grounds is generated on the terrace. The values of rugby are camaraderie friendship, respect – those are values that are effectively emphasised by standing terraces.

“Many regret that in the Aviva Stadium here we couldn’t retain the terraces. We’ve retained terraces in Thomond Park and in Ravenhill and obviously the big GAA grounds have some level of standing room as well.”

A view of the big screen in the Aviva Stadium at today's launch Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The accessible price points Browne points to are, of course, difficult to put an exact figure on eight years out with the terraced option not yet given a green light. However, Browne and bid director Kevin Potts believe that certain pool fixtures could have tickets available from €15. Though the cost of standing on Hill 16 for the Rugby World Cup final on 4 November 2023 could be 10 times that.

Indicative pricing might suggest that, for early rounds, we might have prices as low as €15.

“When you get to the final, it’s a major global sporting event and it would be along the lines of any other major event in terms of ticket pricing. But, if we can persuade World Rugby to retain the terracing at Hill 16 in Croke Park we can offer tickets at a good price point for a final.”

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Sean Farrell

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