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Pro12 Finals

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Post by 123456789 Sun 31 May 2015, 6:35 pm

This year signalled a shift towards a neutral, predetermined venue for the "Grand Final". Belfast was a fantastic choice for this and was a wonderful venue however there are some calls to move the final to a larger stadium to create an atmosphere similar to that at Twickenham yesterday and therefore making it a bigger occasion. There are a number of issues with this, namely that it would mean the final would have to be held in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin or Cardiff every year but for argument's sake how do we look to fill out these larger venues?

Firstly it's worth remembering that (if we discount the Italians) we have a combined population of 10 million which is a sixth of the English, and this population is spread far less densely and with far more expensive and difficult transport links so it is logistically difficult. Also Twickenham is the home of rugby for english fans and therefore represents something close to a pilgrimage for English fans regardless of club allegiances, this is something you wouldn't get for a fan of the Dragons if the final was in Scotland or Ireland between clubs from Scotland or Ireland especially when you factor cost of transport and the fact that diehard rugby fans would have probably travelled long distances just a couple of months before for the Six Nations. Nevertheless giving the final to the top team is also difficult as it's hard to create a big occasion befitting of the league in just one week, so what it the solution?

The first step in my opinion would be to appeal to and, in many ways, reward the diehard fans. By that I mean give heavily subsidised tickets to the season ticket holders regardless of club and maybe organise travel from major population bases so Dublin, Belfast, Edinbugh, Glasgow and Dublin. That way you get a crowd with large numbers of real rugby fans who enjoy each others company. Of course you want to make sure the finalists have large numbers of fans there so it's a bit more partisan so maybe holding back 20,000 tickets until the play-offs and then give 2,500 tickets each to the semi-finalists and then after the semis give 5,000 each to the finalists to be sold at their own price and also divide up any remaining tickets. Anything they lose from cheap tickets they'll gain in the long run through a bigger spectacle and more sponsorship as a result.

Second step would be to make it more relevant to fans of every club so either a sevens tournament of sorts in the morning between the teams or perhaps more effectively some form of exhibition or charity game. Either between two "best of the rest" Pro12 XVs, or Pro12 XV against the Barbarians or two teams chosen by outgoing Pro12 legends in a kind of testimonial match.

Finally I'd try to make more of a spectacle of the event, you can say what you like about the SRU but they do put on a good show before matches. Say it was in Glasgow then there are a lot of local comedians and musicians who make a big deal about their allegiance to the city guys like Kevin Bridges and Amy Macdonald so get them involved have fireworks and really build up an atmosphere for the final.

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Post by Notch Sun 31 May 2015, 6:55 pm

Good thread, I like all of these ideas. I agree if we do move up to larger stadiums we're really going to need to go above and beyond in the marketing department.
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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun 31 May 2015, 7:52 pm

As I posted on the other thread its always awkward with 4 Nations as in not knowing what would be best for each other etc.

Looking at the England set up us ideal as with the exception of Newcastle, Sale and Exeter none of the teams have a huge trek to make to get to Twickenham.

We seen how Twickenham was affected by two French being the Euro Cup this year its always awkward.

From our point though it will always be hard unless travel and the like is subsidised, what would this weekends attendance been like if Glasgow and the Os were in it.

Logistically would it be possible to wait until at least the Semis, if not the final before announcing the venue? As for moving it to bigger stadiums then the marketing would have to be spot on.

I think its better having a lets say cram packed full to the rafters Liberty Stadium with 20,000 in it or CCS 33,000 in it than a half full MS or Murrayfield etc etc.
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Post by 123456789 Sun 31 May 2015, 8:09 pm

It's worth remembering the attendance for the Super Rugby Final last year was 60,000 in Sydney. Australia alone is over a far bigger land mass than the Celtic nations let alone the whole Super Rugby region. I think a week or two weeks before you're always struggling to get numbers, if it's a year in advance people can plan holidays around it. A Eurovision like system could work in that the winner always hosts the next years, that way it'll often end up in a passionate rugby fan base with a good chance of having their team in the final. Having said that London has a population the similar to the size of the celtic nations so it is easier to fill out twickenham. But if they really make a carnival, party atmosphere in the host city and make a big deal of it and raise the profile of the game through immense marketing then it's got huge potential. I think we also need to put a lot more effort into getting the Italians involved, they have huge marketing potential but they are really the black sheep of the organisation.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun 31 May 2015, 9:03 pm

I think if at the beginning of the season they announced the final was to be in Italy then I reckon it would get quite a good reception.  Like you said long enough to save plan etc make a good trip of it and if your team got to final to boot then even better.
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Post by 123456789 Sun 31 May 2015, 9:50 pm

I'm not so sure, some fans kicked off when they found it would be in Belfast, I just think it has to be so much more than one game, it has to become an event. I think people would travel for a special exhibition match and then music and entertainment acts and make it a city wide event. It would be interesting if someone who has been in Belfast could say what the atmosphere was like compared to a six nations City on game day.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun 31 May 2015, 9:52 pm

I guess you will never please everyone and like said trying to please fans of 4 nations even harder.
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Post by 123456789 Sun 31 May 2015, 10:28 pm

Yeah this is true, especially 4 nations that like to whine and moan as much as we do.

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Post by Fanster Sun 31 May 2015, 11:02 pm

I really like the idea of a Eurovision style idea where the nations winner gets the event year round.

Announcing the venue the year beore would be good too.

One way of getting ticket sales up early doors may be to play a third place playoff game before the final and call it finals day. You would regularly see at least 3 nations represented on finals day then, and 3 sets of fans would buy tickets earlier knowing their chance of at least seeing one of their teams would be quite large?

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Post by Notch Sun 31 May 2015, 11:09 pm

I was thinking along the same lines.

The resistance to all of these ideas involving other games around the weekend will come from Unions are all keen to avoid unnecessary fixtures of all kinds. Understandably given the injury rate in the modern game.
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Post by 123456789 Sun 31 May 2015, 11:52 pm

Well the unions could oppose it but if they can surely pull the internationals out and it's not unlike the Barbarians anyway. The issue with a third team game is that will teams play their best players in it and would fans travel to see their team play a third place play-off? But I suppose there's far more people who pay to travel when their team reaches the play-offs. But think how many people attend the double header and the judgment day when there are two games for the price of one, whatever way you put it if there's more to it people are more likely to come especially if you offer season ticket holding rugby fans cheap tickets. I suppose if you market the final well it could be the key to making the Pro12 as profitable as other leagues.

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Post by Fanster Mon 01 Jun 2015, 12:00 am

I thought part of the attraction was, that if the final was contested between Munster and Leinster, yet held in Edinburgh, inclusion of the die hards, could be supplemented by the locals interest in a third place play off match with a Scottish clubs inclusion?

The double header at the millenium Stadium has proved pretty succesfull hasn't it?

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Post by Blueschief Mon 01 Jun 2015, 1:01 am

A double header which includes the final and 3rd place playoff sounds like a goer, I agree.

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Post by RDW Mon 01 Jun 2015, 8:37 am

Well if the league is going to take a step towards filling a larger stadium then they certainly need to try and take a punt on which team will be there or risk a half empty stadium.

Probabilities would dictate that the Aviva would be the best choice, as 3 out of the 5 likely finalists are Irish.

I suspect it will be in Wales though - Ireland have had it for a number of years now (mainly due to Leinster finishing top) and I can't see them punting for Hampden or Ibrox/Parkhead straight away.

The Liberty Stadium has a capacity of almost 21k, which would be a good step up, but the problem certainly would be the Ospreys not making the final and a smaller crowd resulting.

As for putting two games on at the same time, it would take a bit of collaboration and would depend on results, but if it was a Pro 12 team v English team for the Champions Cup playoff that would certainly attract an additional crowd as well.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 8:59 am

Well you all make good points, but they are all in vein, because, unless the criteria is changed, then the final will never be held outside of Ireland.

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Post by Notch Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:13 am

Rolling Eyes
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:14 am

Notch wrote:Rolling Eyes

Why ? Is what I am saying wrong ?

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Post by Notch Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:19 am

Yes, what you are saying is completely wrong, but we've been over it so many times that there is no point in continuing to talk about it.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:20 am

Notch wrote:Yes, what you are saying is completely wrong, but we've been over it so many times that there is no point in continuing to talk about it.

Ok, you tell me what am I saying that is wrong ? Or is it that you just will not care to admit that the criteria can only be filled by the Irish ?

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Post by Notch Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:22 am

You have been told so many times. Go back and read the previous posts in other threads telling you why.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:24 am

Notch wrote:You have been told so many times. Go back and read the previous posts in other threads telling you why.


Notch you are wrong admit it. Unless the criteria is changed to use national stadiums then the only country that can host a Pro12 final is Ireland, and you know this so stop acting like you do not know.

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Post by Notch Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:34 am

What criteria? That there are good hotels nearby? Cities the size of Glasgow, Cardiff and Edinburgh have more hotels than any Irish city but Dublin. That the ground be a specific size? As far as I can tell, this was for this year only and there is nothing preventing it being changed in the future. Nevertheless, there are several other grounds of the appropriate size outside Ireland including Rugby Park, Parc Y Scarlets, the Liberty Stadium etc. etc.

Of course there is absolutely nothing stopping the criteria being changed in the future, as this year was a hastily-thrown together experiment and they are still working out the kinks of this new system. But Glasgow were able to make a bid that met the criteria this season when they nominated Rugby Park in Kilmarnock as a potential final venue. That alone proves that it's not only eligible to be held in Ireland.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:41 am

Notch wrote:But Glasgow were able to make a bid that met the criteria this season when they nominated Rugby Park in Kilmarnock as a potential final venue

That bid did not meet the criteria, that is why it failed and the Kingspan won, seriously do you really believe yourself when you say these things, Rugby park failed on two accounts of the criteria, it was not an 18,000 seater stadium and there were not two 5 star hotels in the vicinity of it. Unless national stadiums are going to be considered then only Ireland meet the criteria, the only way that the final will leave Ireland is if the criteria is changed.

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Post by Notch Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:42 am

So why won't the criteria be changed?
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Post by rodders Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:45 am

They should just host it permanently at Murrayfield.

It will always be neutral because Edinburgh will never make it.
Scotland is a nicer place than Wales, cheaper than Ireland and easier to get to than Rome therefore Edinburgh is the logical place.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:46 am

Notch wrote:So why won't the criteria be changed?

I don't know, hopefully it will, but that is not the point I am making, it is a point you are trying to turn into an argument. What I have said from the start is UNLESS THE CRITERIA IS CHANGED, then the final will never leave Ireland, unless everybody else can erect a few more thousand seats at their rugby ground and a couple of five star hotels to go with it.

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Post by Guest Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:54 am

Don't accept that at all, LD. Glasgow must have been in with a shout of hosting the final this season, otherwise how could it have been close between Belfast and Glasgow?

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:56 am

Munchkin wrote:Don't accept that at all, LD. Glasgow must have been in with a shout of hosting the final this season, otherwise how could it have been close between Belfast and Glasgow?

It was between Belfast and Glasgow, we all know this, but because Glasgow did not meet the criteria Belfast won, simples.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 01 Jun 2015, 10:58 am

rodders wrote:They should just host it permanently at Murrayfield.

It will always be neutral because Edinburgh will never make it.
Scotland is a nicer place than Wales, cheaper than Ireland and easier to get to than Rome therefore Edinburgh is the logical place.

Cheapshot, we finished Second the last season Andy Robinson was in charge. boxing
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Post by Guest Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:00 am

You know what's coming next Very Happy

Prove it. Post a link to an official PRO12 statement which confirms your claim that Glasgow missed out because they did not meet the criteria. In fact I will accept an official Glasgow warriors statement explaining why they missed out. I'm nice that way angel

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:12 am

Well for a start put rugby park Kilmarnock into google and it has not got any 5 star hotels near it. That is how you will see if it failed the criteria.

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Post by rodders Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:14 am

Well if you put 5 stars with vacancies then that would have ruled Belfast out ... Smile
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Post by Guest Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:25 am

LordDowlais wrote:Well for a start put rugby park Kilmarnock into google and it has not got any 5 star hotels near it. That is how you will see if it failed the criteria.

How near to 5* hotels does the ground need to be? What did PRO12 specify? Anything?

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:39 am

Thats the trouble, we are all going on what we are being told, because for some reason the criteria is not available for public viewing.

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Post by Guest Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:51 am

Exactly, LD. We really don't have much to go on. I don't believe that PRO12 would seriously ask any of the teams to apply to host a final if any of those teams were unable to do so within their own nation. I can't prove that. It just makes sense to me.

Hopefully next season will help clarify things a little.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:55 am

Munchkin wrote:Hopefully next season will help clarify things a little.

I am just going on the news that came out from Ospreys and how they could not meet the criteria, if what they said was true, then the only country that could host a Pro12 final, at this moment is Ireland, but as we all hope, the criteria will be changed and be open for public viewing next time.

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Post by TJ Mon 01 Jun 2015, 11:58 am

but both Glasgow and Edinburgh have suitable stadia and plenty of five star hotels - the thing was the "Glasgow" bid was actually for kilmarnock was it not?

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Post by Guest Mon 01 Jun 2015, 12:05 pm

I don't think the information on the Ospreys supporters site is all that black and white. Those snippets that actually came from PRO12 don't really specify about the logistics.

Yep, hopefully the criteria will be a little more transparent next time. Then we will see that it is only those teams that end with an 'R' can host the final Very Happy

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Post by TJ Mon 01 Jun 2015, 2:07 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Notch wrote:So why won't the criteria be changed?

I don't know, hopefully it will, but that is not the point I am making, it is a point you are trying to turn into an argument. What I have said from the start is UNLESS THE CRITERIA IS CHANGED, then the final will never leave Ireland, unless everybody else can erect a few more thousand seats at their rugby ground and a couple of five star hotels to go with it.

And it has been explained to you many times why this is wrong but you will not accept it. Plenty of grounds of the right size near to enough hotels

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 2:10 pm

TJ wrote:And it has been explained to you many times why this is wrong but you will not accept it. Plenty of grounds of the right size near to enough hotels

Not in Wales there aint. OK

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Post by TJ Mon 01 Jun 2015, 2:11 pm

There are in England and scotland - and I don't believe wales is without either.

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Post by rodders Mon 01 Jun 2015, 2:12 pm

For the love of gawd can someone please build some hotels in Swansea.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 2:12 pm

TJ wrote:There are in England and scotland - and I don't believe wales is without either.

There are plenty of 5 star hotels in Wales, just none around a rugby stadium that has more than 18,000 capacity and is not a national stadium. OK

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Post by 123456789 Mon 01 Jun 2015, 3:03 pm

Can it not be held at a National Stadium? If not that is absurdly shortsighted.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 3:15 pm

123456789 wrote:Can it not be held at a National Stadium? If not that is absurdly shortsighted.

No, they were not to be considered this year as they were too big, unless they change it next year then only one country will get the final, and it will not be Wales or Scotland.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Mon 01 Jun 2015, 3:44 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
123456789 wrote:Can it not be held at a National Stadium? If not that is absurdly shortsighted.

No, they were not to be considered this year as they were too big, unless they change it next year then only one country will get the final, and it will not be Wales or Scotland.

Italy??
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Post by Pot Hale Mon 01 Jun 2015, 3:54 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
123456789 wrote:Can it not be held at a National Stadium? If not that is absurdly shortsighted.

No, they were not to be considered this year as they were too big, unless they change it next year then only one country will get the final, and it will not be Wales or Scotland.

Except you're guessing since no complete list of criteria has been published. You're only relying on what was said by Ospreys fans on a website.

Here's a question, LD. If they'd left the final allocation as it was to whoever finished first, and let's say that Ospreys had finished top of the league and won their semi-final, where would they have proposed holding the final under last year's criteria?

Or Glasgow, for that matter.
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Post by 123456789 Mon 01 Jun 2015, 4:25 pm

I think Glasgow would have qualified under the stadium criteria as Celtic Park, Hampden Park, Ibrox or even Rugby Park. Easter Road and maybe Tynecastle fit in Edinburgh. Or if even Pittodrie could qualify and there's the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff which hosts over 30,000. So all in all I think we need to wait and see where it's held next year before passing judgement on Irish bias. It would seem a tad unfair if it was held in the same country two years running under the current system. I do think a situation whereby it is up to the winner of the Pro12 to nominate a suitable stadium then they get to host it or even the team that finishes top of the league so there is a genuine incentive.

The 5* ruling does seem horrifically elitist, there are several 4* hotels in Swansea that I'm sure the Pro12 rulers could stay in and if not then there must be Limo or Helicopter companies that could use to travel to Swansea from Cardiff on the day.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 01 Jun 2015, 4:35 pm

Pot Hale wrote:Here's a question, LD. If they'd left the final allocation as it was to whoever finished first, and let's say that Ospreys had finished top of the league and won their semi-final, where would they have proposed holding the final under last year's criteria?

Thats the thing though isnt it ? They would not have been able to hold the final under last years criteria, the only stadiums that fit the criteria are the Showground in Leinster, Thommond Park in Cork and the Kingspan in Ulster. There are probably a few football grounds around Glasgow and Edinburgh that could hold it, but you would have to go down the road of striking deals and making sure the dates for the final does not conflict with anything to do with the football played in those stadiums.

Hopefully the criteria can be changed for next season as otherwise the final will be held in Ireland again.

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Post by TJ Mon 01 Jun 2015, 4:37 pm

Tynecastle pitch is too small. Not sure about easter road. Ibrox worked well in the commonwealth games.

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