Dublin is in line for a major economic boost next year when the Irish capital becomes the epicentre of European club rugby with the staging of both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals in May 2013.
Tournament organisers, ERC, announced today that the RDS will be the venue for the Amlin Challenge Cup final on Friday, May 17, 2013 with the Heineken Cup showpiece going ahead the following day at the Aviva Stadium.
Research following the Cardiff 2011 finals showed that the economic impact to the Welsh capital from the 83,000 fans who attended the games amounted to €;30 million.
The research also demonstrated that over 84% of fans who attended the finals were from outside Wales with 61% staying at least one night in the host city, while those who attended both finals stayed even longer.
With both 2013 finals being played in close proximity, up to 70,000 supporters will have the opportunity to visit the city and savour what has become an unmissable weekend festival of European club rugby.
Starting with the Amlin Challenge Cup decider, taking in the European Champions Village and climaxing with the final of the Heineken Cup which is widely regarded as the world’s most competitive club rugby tournament, Dublin will offer fans a special sporting experience in the space of a weekend.
2013 will be the third occasion that the Heineken Cup final has been staged in Dublin, and with Leinster and Ulster meeting in Saturday’s historic all-Irish showdown at Twickenham, there is certain to be an Irish name on the trophy when the final returns to the capital in twelve months’ time.
Next year will be the first time that Dublin has hosted the Amlin Challenge Cup final. The tournament which features clubs from up to eight European countries could see an Irish involvement in the knockout stages as every season three Heineken Cup teams qualify for the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Speaking at the announcement, Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “I am delighted to be here today and I’m really looking forward to Dublin being transformed into the European capital of rugby next year.
“Only last week we officially launched the Gathering Ireland 2013, which encourages everyone with an Irish connection to return home next year.
“I believe next year’s Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals will provide a real festival feel during The Gathering, and will be a great addition to our events calendar for The Gathering for next year.”
ERC Chief Executive Derek McGrath commented: “The decision of the ERC Board to stage both the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup finals in Dublin reflects the hugely positive impact Irish provinces and fans have had on European club rugby.
“ERC has already begun working with Fáilte Ireland and our local partners to ensure that the tens of thousands of supporters who will visit the city will enjoy a hugely positive experience of everything Dublin has to offer.”
ERC, with the support of Fáilte Ireland, has further incentivised loyal fans of European club rugby by offering a special value ‘Dublin 2013 Golden Ticket’ package for next year’s finals weekend.
The ticket package includes admission to both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals as well as a one-day Dublin Pass which gives the user free access to over 30 tourist attractions in the capital.
A total of 5,000 of the tickets, which are on offer at €;75 (Category 2 seats) and €;99 (Category 1 seats), go on sale from today at 12pm.
The public allocation for both 2013 finals will go on sale on Monday, May 21 at 12pm with full details on www.ercrugby.com.