Tonight’s hotly anticipated Dublin derby takes place in a sold-out Tallaght Stadium, with Shamrock Rovers describing the demand as “exceptional.”
he visit of bitter rivals Bohemians will be the fifth time this season a Friday night game has exceeded 7,000 tickets sold. 7,500 supporters are set to descend on Dublin 24, the same number that saw the champions win 1-0 the last time the sides met in Tallaght. Season ticket sales at Rovers have doubled since 2018, and with a new stand to be completed next season, the club hopes to deliver sell-outs of 10,000 for games soon.
“We have a very healthy foundation of 3,500 season tickets, that has doubled since 2018,” said Mark Lynch, Director at Shamrock Rovers.
“On an average basis we are certainly up by about 30pc. That’s not necessarily because of Covid. It was on a steady increase anyway, but I guess a lot of things changed for people through the pandemic, attitudes, and a sense of belonging.
“It’s €25 for a child season ticket too, which is €1.40 a game. You can see going to Tallaght Stadium just how young the fanbase is. With that foundation, match-by-match buyers have also been coming in their droves. Another 2,000 seats coming in early 2023 will be fantastic for us.”
In figures compiled by extratime.com, of the 20 clubs across 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, who work with a range of domestic clubs, predicts that a record 600,000 fans will attend League of Ireland games this year.
Lynch says the vast majority of tickets are now bought online, with many supporters anxious to secure one for fear of the game selling out. Also home to Ireland’s women’s team and the men’s U-21s, it’s hoped Tallaght Stadium will be used for concerts and other large events from next year on too. Tallaght Stadium’s match-day experience and location makes it a prime ground to watch live football in, he adds.
“To deliver sell-out crowds towards 10,000 is the aim,” added Lynch.
“90pc of tickets now are sold online. Before Covid, online sales would have been less popular, compared to buying them at the booths. There is this idea that if you don’t get your ticket early that you might not get one, that’s a very healthy position to be in.
“We have a great match-day experience, and the stadium is a huge part of that. We have to build on that and continue to improve in catering, retail, and atmosphere. It’s a very accessible stadium. There’s a dozen buses and the Luas red line and it’s just off the N81 which gives it an easy reach for away fans. It’s a great place to come and watch football, the pitch is fantastic, and we have really talented players. It makes it a spectacle.”