Munster Rugby has promised to address concerns that some of its most loyal supporters are being subjected to higher surcharges than others when purchasing tickets for knockout matches.
The development came after a 10-year ticketholder, seeking two East Stand seats for Munster’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse at Thomond Park on April 1, was sent an invoice for €131.90 by the province’s official ticketing agency Ticketmaster.
That represents a €5.95 surcharge per €60.00 ticket, which is the same booking fee currently applying to Aviva Stadium tickets priced €62.00 for Leinster’s quarter-final with Wasps on the same day.
What was at issue for lifelong Munster supporter Dan Noonan was that he also purchased a €40 terrace ticket for the same game for one of his children through the Munster Rugby Supporters Club and was levied with a surcharge of just €1.50.
The European knockout fixture, Munster’s first in three seasons, falls outside the games eligible under the 10-year ticket scheme, launched after the redevelopment of Thomond Park in 2008.
Noonan, from Kilworth, Co. Cork, bought two 10-year tickets in the first tranche sold by the province nine years ago, costing him €5,000 apiece and told the Irish Examiner he was fully aware that tickets for knockout games were not included in the package although he would have first refusal on his chosen seats for regular season games.
What he was not prepared for was a disparity between 10-year ticketholders and supporters club members regarding booking fees for those match tickets.
“To be honest, at the time (of spending €10,000 for two 10-year tickets) surcharges never entered my mind.
“I’m in my late 50s, I’ve been going to Munster matches for a long, long time. I understand the pressures that Munster Rugby, or any other professional sports team, are under. It’s a business, yet it doesn’t sit comfortably with me that they would seem to have entered into a contract whereby the extra surcharge goes to Ticketmaster when another strand of Munster supporters have a better arrangement.”
Noonan had first raised the issue with Munster Rugby following the May 2015 Guinness PRO12 final at Ravenhill, when he was charged a £3.95 booking fee by Ticketmaster for the decider against Glasgow Warriors.
He brought it up again during a focus group meeting for 10-year ticketholders at Musgrave Park last December 8 and was given assurances then by a Munster Rugby employee that the issue had been resolved, only to find three months later when the Toulouse match tickets went on sale that it had not.
Munster Rugby has told the Irish Examiner the discrepancy between charges accruing to MRSC members and 10-year ticketholders was due to the latter being on the Ticketmaster system initially and tied to their original terms and standard service charges, while the MRSC was a later addition to the Ticketmaster platform, when new terms and a reduced service charge to its members was negotiated.
Munster’s head of commercial and marketing Enda Lynch promised the issue would be prioritised in future negotiations with Ticketmaster. “We recently held a very positive focus group with our 10-year ticketholders in looking ahead to the upcoming renewal period. It was noted that the Ticketmaster service charge was an area to be addressed and this is something we are prioritising,” Lynch said.
“This is an ongoing process and we hope to have everything finalised before our renewal period in the upcoming months.”
Having spent well in excess of the €10,000 outlay for his 10-year tickets in 2008, Noonan said he was considering whether to renew them next year and was hoping an annual payment plan or five-year option was made available.
“There’s a principle, certainly, in this but at the same time, it doesn’t affect my position in supporting Munster. I’m not bitter, just disappointed.
“Unfortunately unless people highlight these things they won’t ever be changed.
“It would be great for Munster not to lose the run of themselves with regards to their loyal supporters.”
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