England’s friendly visit in 2015 will be a huge boost to FAI ticket sales
Game should provide a significant payday for the cash-strapped organisation
England fans riot during the Republic of Ireland versus England game at Lansdowne Road in 1995.
The FAI will hope that confirmation of England’s visit to the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, June 7th next year will help it revive the “sought after” status of its match tickets generally, with the association aiming to considerably boost season ticket sales off the back of the much anticipated friendly.
With the game a sure-fire sell-out, the hope is that it will help to significantly boost sales of the association’s season tickets which, despite offering significant discounts on full-price tickets, only account for a little over 10 per cent of the stadium’s capacity at present.
The offering for next season, though, is quite a bit stronger than in previous seasons, with two of the games likely to define the Republic of Ireland’s Euro2016 qualification campaign, the home ties against Scotland, which takes place six days after the visit of England, and Poland, also included in a deal that is completed by the qualifier against Gibraltar as well as two other, yet to be confirmed, friendly internationals.
Apart from supporters intending to attend the game themselves, the association is hoping that the entitlement the season tickets confer on holders to purchase additional tickets before a game goes on general sale will lend a particular appeal with regard to the England and quite possibly Scotland games. If sales do go any way well it is quite possible that by the time they have taken up their options and sales through clubs, leagues and other entitled members of the “football family”, the games might never go on sale to the general public.
That would be a huge boost to the association which has suffered greatly from the growing ease with which its tickets have been accessible, even up until the day of the game, over the last few years as well as the way in which they have been devalued by the plethora of discount schemes, offers and giveaways.
Securing the England game – which was actually agreed as part of the deal that also involved Ireland visiting Wembley last year when the two teams drew 1-1 with only the precise timing of the return match in doubt until yesterday – was always going to provide a boost.
And the game should provide a significant payday for the cash-strapped organisation, whose longer-term financial outlook has also been improved of late due to the discounting and restructuring of the debt it incurred to fund its share of the Lansdowne Road redevelopment costs.
The Wembley game was considered a major success with around 80,000 spectators paying into a stadium that has proved as challenging for the English FA to fill as the Aviva has for the association here. The allure of the return game is added to considerably by the fact that while the two countries have met 14 times down the years, with Ireland winning twice and drawing seven times, England have not visited Dublin since the night in February 1995 when the game had to be abandoned after 20 minutes due to trouble amongst the visiting fans, with Ireland leading thanks to a David Kelly goal.
Naturally, Club England Managing Director Adrian Bevington is hoping for better this time around.
“It will be a significant moment for England to play in Dublin again,” he said yesterday, “and due to the hard work by both organisations on many fronts we fully expect it to be a fantastic occasion enjoyed by both sets of fans.”