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League of Ireland attendance could hit 1 million

Leading ticket sales enabling software company Future Ticketing is predicting possible total attendances of up to one million at SSE Airtricity League of Ireland grounds this season. The 2023 season kicks off this Friday night and some clubs using the Offaly-based company’s software have the ‘sold out’ signs already up for the opening evening of the new campaign. Overall, Future Ticketing’s partner clubs across the domestic game are projecting an upswing in gate receipts of between 15 and 20%, ensuring a record year in the history of the league. This means that as many as 800,000 fans could be passing through the turnstiles for games in the League of Ireland Premier and First Divisions. When potential attendances of nearly 200,000 at cup, European and the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division are added, the figure of one million is within reach. Future Ticketing has confirmed that season ticket orders are running up to 20% ahead of 2022 – itself a record breaker – with some 20,000 people booking their seats for the whole year in advance. Premier Division clubs who have teamed up with Future Ticketing are Bohemians, Derry City, Drogheda, Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne, Sligo Rovers and St Pat’s while partners in the First Division are Bray Wanderers, Finn Harps, Galway United, newcomers Kerry FC, Longford Town and Treaty United.

“These are boom times for League of Ireland football and a definite pattern of rapid growth can be seen in season ticket sales and that points to record attendances throughout the coming year,” said Future Ticketing CEO Liam Holton. “The clubs must be applauded for embracing our online ticketing service and we are proud to share the journey with them during this remarkable digital transformation. “All of the clubs have willingly bought into our vision of how our unique digital platform can enable them to further engage customers, provide a first class experience online and at the turnstile and increase attendance figures. The year-on-year growth is a reflection of that.”

On the pitch, Shamrock Rovers are seeking four league titles in a row but off it they have come up with a winning formula too. Rovers Director and Head of Communications and Media, Mark Lynch MMII, said: “A club and league record number of season ticket sales in 2023 is the latest stage in a strategic plan on season tickets which began in 2018. Various incentives and promotions around season tickets along with an excellent product, including our performances and the matchday experience, has helped the club reach the point where there will be over 4,000 season ticket holders joining thousands of other matchday fans at Tallaght Stadium in 2023.”

At St Patrick’s Athletic, Friday’s match at home to President’s Cup winners Derry City – who sold out the Brandywell for the season curtain raiser against Rovers – is also sold out. Karl Stafford, St Pat’s Ticketing Manager, said: “Because we have teamed up with Future Ticketing, fans of the St Patrick’s Athletic have found it much easier to buy tickets, whether it’s a season ticket for our main stand, section G, or an individual match on any Friday night. It has been a winning combination.”

On the capital’s northside Dave Rothwell, Membership Director, Bohemian FC said: “Our partnership with Future Ticketing has been crucial to the continued growth of our dedicated fan base. And advance sales this year prove how popular the ticketing service is with our supporters.”

In the northwest of Ireland, anticipation is once again building. Shane Crossan, Marketing Officer, Sligo Rovers, said: “Here at the Bit O’ Red, we’ve always prided ourselves on being the best supported club in the country and that’s why we work with Future Ticketing. Since we joined forces, that statement is truer than ever, and we’re delighted with demand for 2023 season tickets for both our women’s and men’s teams.”

Finn Harps have shown that their fans shrugged off the disappointment of relegation because total season ticket sales are on course to break 1,000 before Friday’s visit of Galway. Ian Harkin, Finn Harps Chairman has noticed that many more people are also now more comfortable buying tickets online: “In most leagues around the world the single most identifying factor of being a true fan of your club is being a season ticket holder, it’s the badge of honour for most fans. For a club it is crucial, getting that upfront commitment allows you to budget and plan with a certain degree of certainty.”

Looking ahead to the new season, Keith McDarby, Commercial Director at Shelbourne FC said: “We are set for another record-breaking season here at Shelbourne FC with regards to our season ticket offering. Since we have begun working with our ticketing provider, Future Ticketing, we have seen steady increases year on year offering our fans a seamless way of purchasing their season ticket to Tolka Park”.

“What we’re seeing is definitely a very positive trend where there is a growing appreciation of how our proactive model benefits our partners. It is all the result of hard work, and we are really looking forward to the new season and continuing to work with our clubs.” – Future Ticketing CEO Liam Holton added

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