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IRFU Ten-Year tickets 2019-2030 and some rugby developments

Frank Quinn

By Frank Quinn
THE IRFU has deferred payments and instalments of the current ten year ticket sales, due to the pandemic,as reported by Johnny Watterson in the Irish Times
They were offered out in 2019 and deposits were taken then with the optional final instalments paid over 48 months – due to be paid by 2024. By adding in an extra year
for the pandemic virus- instalment payments should finish in 2025.
The tickets were offered at the rate of €15,000 per ticket to cover the renewalof all tickets from 2020 and it was successful- a total of 21,700 were sold. This leaves a balance of 30,000 individual tickets to be sold per game through the clubs and to corporate hospitality clients.
The virus has put advance sales for any product in jeopardy.
Interesting the ten year tickets were offered for sale originally in June 2007 at the
same price of €15,000 per ticket during the building of the Aviva stadium while the
international test matches were being played in Croke Park in front of a crowd of
83,000 spectators, these were very lucrative years for the IRFU due to the increased
capacity at GAA headquarters.
The ten year tickets were sold under different payment formats and they are all due to
be paid up by 2025, after starting in 2019 (finish / renewal in 2030 now approx)
The full price of €15,000 each will be paid in a six year period at current levels and
current environment for a total of €325,500,000, at an average annual amount of
€54,225,000 (over 6 years) and lasts for eleven years with the Virus one year
extension
The annual accounting amount for 11 years is €29.590, 000.
The remaining 30,000 approx tickets (general admission – premium – club tickets) will
be sold individually for each test match over the 11 year period and if we take an
average price of €100 per ticket with inflation from 2020 to 2030. The IRFU manage
to play 5/6 test matches at home each year at the Aviva in the 6N period and the
Guinness series in November. By using six matches as the guide this will generate
three million Euros per game and €18 million per annum for the grand total of €180
million over the 10 year period
Thus the expected revenues for the 11 year period for ticket sales are
expected to be in the region of €505 million. (€46M per year)
There are other options for attracting revenues:
Commercial sources of revenue
Sponsorships
Hospitality options for each test match
Television/Communications rights in conjunction with other nations
Prize money from the major tournaments – The 6N, European Rugby, Celtic Pro14
Rugby, RWC competitions every 4 years
Income from gate receipts at the four professional clubs for all competitions

COSTS:
The current cost of the “all in professional game” including all grades
And all coaching, including the four provincial clubs, is estimated at €60 million in
the accounts of April 2019. (Total expenditure is €84M)
We can expect some cost savings although maybe not ready for the April 2020 set of
Accounts.
Player and coaching salaries and squad sizes at the provinces and national level to be
reduced to suit the new 2020 requirements
For example an overall 20% reduction in the professional costs would result in a
€12M annual saving.
It takes another €24M to run the rest of the IRFU for the year:
Admin – overheads and Grounds is €10.4M Domestic and Community rugby is
€11.2M. Marketing and communications are shown as €2.2M. Are the main costs.
Business plan/model options / World Rugby
With no income and costs of €60M per year there are options available/alternatives to
the IRFU in addition to the salary and cost cutting.
The four professional Clubs now in situ could be franchised out by Rugby Ireland
(subsidiary to IRFU) to groups/businesses who would move the on with the
development and enhance the clubs. There would be a healthy franchise fee to come
in to the IRFU and the IRFU could lease all the facilities it owns to the franchised
clubs including grounds, goodwill and services. The IRFU currently receives an
annual rent of €800,000 from its estate at Landsowne Road where the Aviva Stadium
stands.
Players / coaches salaries and all the backup personnel would be paid by the
franchises, and the players selected for squads for international duty would be
compensated by the IRFU for reduced squad selections and match day selections on a
match by match basis.
This system operates in many of the Tier One countries already and the overriding
cost factor is salaries – which need to be rationalised worldwide. Some salary caps
will be initiated but have proved very difficult in the past to enforce at club level.
The global fixture list, being proposed again by World Rugby must come into the
reckoning however I am optimistic that it will not be rushed into in this pandemic
year of 2020, it needs serious thinking and agreement. Super Rugby champions versus
European rugby champions is there all the time, it is nothing new and is just waiting
for a suitable date to be finalised.
In the middle of all of this “super rugby talk” – World Rugby has a lot to answer for
and need to look at the lack of quality in the Tier Two countries to bring them up to
Tier One standard in time for the next RWC in 2023
Sure they can take the easy way out, it has been on the cards for years, – have a mini
RWC every two years with all the Tier One countries participating and the cash rolls
in. WR can go through all that bidding malarkey again to see who hosts it – north and
south to share as usual. Nothing changes.

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