The SSE Airtricity League bounces back to life this evening and the admittedly self-styled ‘Greatest League in the World’ is buzzing.
Sport for Business member Future Ticketing, based in Tullamore, manages the ticketing services for eight of this year’s ten Premier League clubs and will be the power behind the box office for each of this weekend’s opening round of fixtures at St Patrick’s Athletic, Derry City, Bohemians, Dundalk and Waterford United.
Dundalk at home to Sligo Rovers and Waterford at home to Shamrock Rovers look sure to sell out on Friday night and Bohemians against Shamrock Rovers next week is likely to do so well in advance as well,” Future Ticketing CEO Liam Holton told Sport for Business yesterday.
“We have been involved with clubs in the SSE Airtricity League for the past two seasons and the overall attendance has risen over that period by 97,000 fans or 28 per cent.”
“That’s a testament to the passion of the fans and the rising quality of the football that is on offer.”
Research undertaken by Extratime.ie showed that the aggregate attendance across all games last season was up to 441,466.
Critics of the League say that it is not relevant to sports fans but that number is half of all those who attended Croke Park throughout the 2018 All Ireland Hurling and Football Championships. It’s over a larger number of games but it is a significant number and it is growing.
“With no major football tournament to distract fans this summer, there is a possibility that the overall attendance figure could get close to or even breach 500,000,” added Holton.
“We are in the enviable position of cheering on most of the teams that will get their season underway this weekend. The preseason buzz around transfers, the continued strength of Dundalk and Cork City and the optimism around Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers to put Dublin back on top all suggests that this will be a season to remember.”
“Pre-sales of tickets are ahead of where they were last season and we are optimistic that a good start to the campaign will carry that through.”