Tonight’s highly anticipated Dublin derby takes place in a packed stadium in Tallaght, with Shamrock Rovers describing the demand as “exceptional”.
visit by rival Bohemians will be the fifth time this season that a Friday night game has surpassed 7,000 tickets sold. 7,500 fans are expected to descend on Dublin 24, the same number that saw the champions win 1-0 the last time the teams met in Tallaght. Season ticket sales at Rovers have doubled since 2018 and with a new booth to be completed next season, the club expects to sell 10,000 game tickets soon.
“We have a very healthy base of 3,500 season tickets, which has doubled since 2018,” said Mark Lynch, principal at Shamrock Rovers.
“On an average basis, we certainly increased by about 30%. This is not necessarily because of Covid. Anyway, it was on a steady rise, but I think a lot of things have changed for people through the pandemic, attitudes and a sense of belonging.
“It also costs €25 for a children’s season ticket, which is €1.40 per game. You can see by going to Tallaght Stadium how young the fan base is. With this base, game-by-game buyers also come in droves. Another 2,000 seats coming in early 2023 will be fantastic for us.”
In figures compiled by extratime.com, of the 20 clubs in both divisions, 18 have seen an increase in crowds compared to 2019. This is a remarkable statistic and shows that the appetite for live domestic football is flourishing. Future Ticketing, which works with a number of domestic clubs, predicts a record 600,000 fans will attend League of Ireland games this year.
Lynch says the vast majority of tickets are now purchased online, with many fans eager to secure one for fear the game will sell out. Also home to Ireland’s women’s and men’s under-21s, Tallaght Stadium is expected to be used for concerts and other major events from next year as well. Tallaght Stadium’s experience and game-day location make it a prime venue for watching live football, he adds.
“The goal is to deliver sold-out crowds to 10,000 people,” added Lynch.
“90pc of tickets are now sold online. Before Covid, online sales would have been less popular, compared to booth shopping. There’s this idea that if you don’t get your ticket early, you might not get one, that’s a very healthy position to be in.
“We have a great game day experience, and the stadium is a big part of that. We have to take advantage of that and keep improving in catering, retail and atmosphere. It’s a very accessible stadium. There are a dozen buses and the A line. red of Luas and is right next to the N81 which makes it easy for outside fans to get in. It’s a great place to watch football, the pitch is fantastic and we have really talented players. That makes it a spectacle.”