Tickets for games at the 2023 Rugby World Cup could be as low as €20 if an all-Ireland bid for the tournament is successful, it has been claimed.
With a cross border bid for the tournament on the table, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross also confirmed Ireland’s games will be broadcast for free.
Some €200 million of taxpayer funds has been committed to bring stadiums, training centres and other infrastructure up to scratch for the competition.
Mr Ross also revealed that Ireland has been asked by both World Rugby and football governing body UEFA to look at issues around ticket reselling.
The minister said the Government was considering new laws to crack down on touting.
“It’s something we have got to be conscious of,” he said. “It would be reputationally damaging to the state if there was ticket touting on a massive scale.”
Twelve venues have been put on a longlist as part of the Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in September-October 2023.
Taking questions at the Oireachtas Transport Committee on the benefits and risks from hosting the tournament, Mr Ross said tickets would be competitively priced.
“Let’s be quite straight about it. It’s meant to make a profit. This is not intended to run at a loss for anybody,” he said. “I’m not going to reveal any detailed figures. But some of the tickets will be as low as €20.”
Among the stadiums identified for games are Derry’s Celtic Park, a surprise inclusion, and Belfast’s Casement Park, which has yet to be built.
Flagship venues in Dublin include Croke Park and rugby HQ in Lansdowne Road.
Others include Belfast’s Ravenhill, Dublin’s RDS, Kilkenny’s Nowlan Park, Cork’s new Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Killarney’s Fitzgerald Stadium, Limerick’s Thomond Park, Galway’s Pearse Stadium and Castlebar’s McHale Park.
Forty training facilities in rugby and sports clubs around the country will also be upgraded while up-to-speed broadband is an essential.
The winning bid will be announced in November with France and South Africa also in the running.
Mr Ross also said Ireland should consider a bid for the Olympic Games, an idea laughed at back in 1992 when then Lord Mayor of Dublin Gay Mitchell had accountants and other experts assess the idea.
“We’re now thinking in these terms and it’s really very, very exciting. Let’s think about the Olympics. Sure,” he told the committee.
“Now it’s a real, realistic prospect if we build up these stadiums and we are a credible bidder, which we obviously are, and if we win this bid I think the sky’s the limit.”
Mr Ross also told the committee that hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup would bring in 450,000 visitors spending about €760m and a financial return to the state of about €138m.