Provincial success will fill IRFU coffers

The IRFU stands to benefit to the tune of €1.35m in the event that all three provinces win their Heineken Cup quarter-finals this weekend, while wins for Leinster and/or Ulster would bring about a financial bonanza for the Dublin economy.

Provincial success will fill  IRFU coffers

Should Leinster dethrone Toulon at Stade Felix Mayol this Sunday they would be rewarded with a semi-final at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, April 27, while Ulster would play at the same ground a day earlier should they see off Saracens at Ravenhill tomorrow.

Munster would be a designated ‘away’ team for the last-four stage if they defeat Toulouse at Thomond Park in their quarter-final tomorrow, with the IRFU standing to earn €450,000 for each province that makes the penultimate stage.

The union has already pocketed €1.35m thanks to the presence of the three clubs in the last eight.

However, while the provinces share gate receipts with the union on a 50/50 basis for the quarter-finals — after the clubs must fork out for their own expenses — all the income from semi-final fixtures is given over to a central tournament pot and redistributed to the various unions and clubs.

Any and all extra income will surely be welcome in Lansdowne Road given the news last summer that a shortfall in long-term ticket sales had left a €26m hole in union finances and warnings from officials that everyone would have to tighten their belts.

Still, should both Leinster and Munster progress this weekend it would set up a third Heineken semi-final in the capital in just nine seasons, with one win apiece to date after the games at the old Lansdowne Road in 2006 and Croke Park three years later.

The economy in general would benefit enormously from any home berths. It was estimated that last November’s three internationals against Samoa, Australia and New Zealand generated €60m for the Dublin region.

Earlier research calculated that a Six Nations game between Ireland and England had added €83m to the economy while it was estimated €10.5m was poured into local businesses in Limerick thanks to the city’s hosting of the 2009 Munster/Ospreys European quarter-final.

Toulon will face either Munster or Toulouse at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome if they evict Leinster this weekend, while Saracens would face either Clermont Auvergne or Leicester Tigers at Twickenham in the event they leave Belfast with a victory.

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