Munster Rugby has declared that there will be no repeat of renting out Thomond Park for concerts during the rugby season.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner Chief Operating Officer Philip Quinn said that the hosting of two Ed Sheeran concerts was “the right decision but not one that they had wanted to make.”

We are of course emerging from exceptional times and the financial hit to professional sport in particular from the last two years has forced a need to look differently upon decisions that involve income that can go some way to plugging the financial hole that Covid left in its wake.

The unease in fan circles only really arose out of the fact that Munster had won the right to host European Champions Toulouse in the Heineken Champions’ Cup Quarter Final and it then had to be switched to the Aviva Stadium.

That did not stop a crowd of over 40,000 from turning up to support the team in Dublin, a good 14,000 more than the capacity in Thomond.

The fact that the tickets were cheaper, at €20 and that subsidised transport was laid on as well meant that fans were not really out of pocket.

The pain really though comes in the narrow margin of the defeat.

The unusual circumstances of the shoot out to determine the winner, where home advantage and understanding the angles would perhaps have given more of an advantage to Munster if it had been in Limerick, will live long in the mind.

“It was our decision to take the booking for Ed Sheeran, we took responsibility for that and it was a case of then saying ’okay, we need to reward our supporters, those that could make it up,” Quinn told the Examiner.

“It worked out. The atmosphere was incredible but that’s down to the supporters. I’ve been around Munster for a long time, it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve experienced an atmosphere like that.

“We were hoping to get 26,000 at it, we went over 40,000 and the crowd were absolutely amazing but we judge ourselves by winning on the pitch and we didn’t. We came really close but that’s not us, we’re not gallant losers, we need to win, that’s how we judge ourselves.”

With Cork GAA having declared a similar moratorium on stadium rental at the expense of matches in Pairc U Chaoimh, it may be a while before the turf is raised to facilitate the creation of an entertainment stage, but the summer is long and at least now we are back to an ability to plan in advance, the need may never be so great again to take the euro’s on offer.

 

Sport for Business Perspective

Exceptional times make for different decision making and while there may have been grumbling the atmosphere the fans created was exceptional. Did it make the difference between winning and losing? No one can tell. If the game had been won it would have been a home Semi-Final this weekend against Leinster, but sport is only about dreams until the whistle blows and with Covid in mind, Ed Sheeran was an offer that no sporting body could turn down.

 

 

Sport for Business Partners