Crowds for the 18 rounds of regular Magners League matches topped the three-quarters of a million mark for the first time ever at 771,852, representing an increase of 5.5% on last season.
It means that average gates now stand at 8,576, more than double the average of 3,802 recorded in the 2003/04 season when home and away games in the league first began.
And while Munster’s challenge for the title may have fallen at the semi-final hurdle at the RDS two weeks ago, they deservedly retained one accolade – that of the Best Supported Team in the Magners League.
Munster’s average ticket sales for Magners League matches between Thomond and Musgrave Parks topped 18,600. That represented a 4% increase on the previous season, when they won the title, and proves they are still one of Europe’s top rugby attractions.
“Congratulations must go to Munster on ending another season as the Magners League’s Best Supported Team. The loyalty of their fans is renowned throughout Europe, and the support they give their team is outstanding,” said director of Celtic Rugby David Jordan.
“Almost all Magners League teams have recorded an increase in their gates this year; Glasgow Warriors by nearly 28%, Cardiff Blues 25%, while Connacht have seen an 8% increase. This is a remarkable achievement in a year of economic turmoil, travel chaos and weather interruptions.
“Gates are growing, standards are rising and things are simply getting better and better in one of the strongest leagues in world rugby today. Saturday’s Grand Final clash between Leinster and Ospreys should provide ample proof of the magic that has enticed so many new fans into the Magners League.”
Michael Merrins, managing director, Bulmers Ireland added: “We would once again like to offer our congratulations to everyone at Munster. To win this award for a second year in a row reflects the continued hard work put in both on and off the field, along with the passion and loyalty of Munster’s fantastic fans.
“The increases in attendance across the board reflect the hunger that exists for the Magners League brand of rugby and the Magners League Grand Final will be a fitting finale to what has been a fantastic season for the League.”