The Welsh economy is set for another bumper pay-day in the New Year with the news that more than 23,000 tickets have already been sold for the Cardiff 2008 Heineken Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday May 24th 2008.

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That is more than double the number that had been sold prior to Christmas 2005 ahead of the 2006 final between Munster and Biarritz Olympique – a never-to-be-forgotten sell-out occasion that generated more than £25m for the Welsh economy.

It will be a record fifth time the world’s biggest club rugby match has been played in the Welsh capital. The 2002 Heineken Cup final between Leicester Tigers and Munster set a stadium record attendance of 74,600, while Munster’s return in 2006 played to a crowd of 74,534.

“This is great news for both the Millennium Stadium, the Heineken Cup organisers, ERC, and the Welsh economy,” said WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis.

“The Welsh capital has always provided a great setting for Europe’s finest teams to show off their skills ever since the first two Heineken Cup finals were staged here in 1996 and 1997. With a third of the available space for the Cardiff 2008 final already sold it means we have more than doubled the number of sales we had achieved by Christmas 2006.

“That proves the ever increasing drawing power of the Heineken Cup Final as one of Europe’s major sporting events – along with the attraction of watching a game in Europe’s best rugby stadium situated at the heart of one of the continent’s most friendly capital cities.

“Hot on the heels of hosting four matches in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the Millennium Stadium is gearing itself up for three RBS Six Nations matches in the New Year before hosting the Cardiff 2008 Heineken Cup Final. It will be a great way to end a remarkable season at the Millennium Stadium – by welcoming two of Europe’s greatest clubs.

“With tickets selling as fast as they are then the advice to anyone who wants to see one of the showpieces of the European rugby calendar is to buy now to avoid being disappointed later on. Don’t forget, that ERC hold back 15,000 tickets for the finalists to share once the semi-finals are concluded at the end of April.”

Last season’s Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium attracted a world record crowd for a club rugby union match of 81,076. London Wasps beat Leicester Tigers to take the title for the second time.

The Cardiff 2008 final will be the 13th Heineken Cup Final. Toulouse won the inaugural title at the old Cardiff Arms Park on 6 January, 1996 when they beat Cardiff in extra time in front of a crowd of 21,800. The second final, also at Cardiff Arms Park, saw Brive beat Leicester Tigers in front of 41,664 fans.

With four of the six Pool rounds now completed, at least 15 of Europe’s finest teams are still in contention for a place in the quarter-finals, including reigning champions London Wasps, French champions Stade Francais Paris, Welsh Regions Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys, three-times winners Toulouse and 2006 winners Munster.

In total, the Millennium Stadium and its predecessor, Cardiff Arms Park, have hosted five Heineken Cup matches – four finals and last season’s Cardiff Blues v Leicester Tigers Pool match. Those five matches were watched by 239,243 fans and another full house for the Cardiff 2008 final will take that figure through the 300,000 barrier.

Tickets for the Cardiff 2008 Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium are now on general sale through the ticket hotline (UK tel: 0844 847 1530, outside UK +44 208 616 5111) or through and

Tickets are priced at £35, £45 and £55 with concession prices for juniors at £22, £24, £32.