18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Commenting on the impact of the Heineken Cup games on the city, Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said: "We are delighted that the investment made in the new stadium is having such a positive economic impact for Limerick and the wider business community.
"We were always aware of the level of business activity in the city on the strength of Heineken Cup matches, however these study findings confirm the economic potential of stadium events for Limerick city and the Mid West region."
Mark O'Connell, Consulting Director with BDO Simpson Xavier, outlined that 'the study reveals a number of major profile benefits for the city in addition to the obvious financial boost these games generate.'
"The previous economic impact study conducted for the Munster versus Wasps game in January 2008 highlighted an almost identical spend per visiting supporter of €530 over the weekend of the games," he explained.
"The major difference for the city is now the ability of Thomond Park to accommodate more Munster and visiting supporters and create a much higher level of economic activity across the city."
He added: "The value of the media coverage for the city and region is also very significant. Games such as the Ospreys game can create a latent tourism spend effect of €12 million for the city based on the international match coverage across all media formats.
"It was estimated that the value of global media coverage for the city for the past season was €58 million including the All Blacks game last November."
Commenting on the overall impact of Munster games at Thomond Park, Sales and Marketing Manager for Munster Rugby, Glyn Billinghurst, explained: "It is important that we now build on the findings and information gained from these two studies and provide the supporters visiting Thomond Park with activity and events around the match to enhance their visit to Limerick.
"The study also identified a clear need to publicise the activities, offers and events that are organised in Limerick city in advance of any match weekend. This will help grow the major economic impact of any Munster Rugby match or event at Thomond Park."
Key Report Findings -
(1) - The redevelopment of Thomond Park Stadium has resulted in the creation of a major economic stimulus for the local economy.
The Ospreys quarter-final match resulted in generating an economic impact of 10.485 million euro. The direct expenditure from Irish and Welsh supporters was 4.194 million euro.
(2) - The application of sensitivity analysis to the economic impact findings highlights an economic range of between 8.388 million euro and 12.58 million euro that will accrue to city businesses from such events.
The match also resulted in 280 part-time jobs created over the weekend across local hospitality, food, beverage and retail sectors.
(3) - The study of spending patterns of 445 Ospreys supporters revealed an average spend of 527 euro per visiting supporter which is similar to the findings of the Economic Impact Study conducted at the Munster versus Wasps pool game where the average spend was 537 euro.
27% of expenditure went on accommodation with 68% of visiting supporters budgets spent on food and beverages in the city. The average expenditure per local supporter revealed a number of average expenditure sub categories ranging from 32 to 260 euro.
(4) - Local accommodation providers are of one of the major beneficiaries with 3912 bednights generated locally for the Ospreys match. Visiting supporters stayed an average of two nights each while one in four Ospreys supporters stayed three nights or more.
(5) - The study reinforces the major economic benefits that accrue to the city from events hosted in Thomond Park Stadium, however one of the major outcomes of the study is the level of positive social impact such events have locally.
(6) - A pre-departure study conducted among Ospreys supporters with the assistance of Shannon Development highlighted that the majority of visiting supporters focused on the destination as a sporting and rugby one. 66% of the visiting supporters associated the city with Munster Rugby, Thomond Park and sport.
(7) - The perception of Limerick among visiting supporters focused on the welcoming, friendly and sociable nature of the city. The top three rated aspects of Limerick among the 445 visiting supporters surveyed were: friendliness of local people, Limerick is a sports orientated city and thirdly the great atmosphere throughout Limerick.
(8) - Supporters were asked to rate the best aspect of their visit to Limerick. 22.9% referred to the atmosphere and fun in the city on the match weekend.
A further 20.6% highlighted the friendly and welcoming people of Limerick, while 19.4% rated the social life in the city as the best part of their trip.
7.1% rated Thomond Park and their highlight with a further 5.9% commenting on the overall city of Limerick as the best element of their visit.
(9) - The exposure received for Limerick through media focus on the match and in the build-up is also a major contributor to developing the image and profile of the city.
Based on media coverage and the latent tourism spend over the following year, the Ospreys game created a further tourism value of 12 million euro for the region. The media value of the four Heineken Cup games and All Blacks game hosted in Thomond Park was 58 million euro.
(10) - Analysis of local supporter spend suggest that Magners League games will create an economic impact of between 1.2 million and 3.5 million euro for the city.
It is estimated that the value of the two scheduled summer concerts hosted at Thomond Park will generate 9.9 million euro each. A sample of 13 city hotels revealed 100% occupancy for the Elton John concert recently held at Thomond Park.