Croke Park profit down over €10m as soccer and rugby depart
The departure of rugby and soccer matches back across Dublin to the Aviva Stadium resulted in a 27pc decrease in revenues generated by Croke Park stadium in 2010, accounts presented yesterday revealed.
With all Ireland senior rugby matches now back at Lansdowne Road -- three Six Nations games were played in Croke Park last spring -- revenues are expected to drop further in 2011.
Stadium director Peter McKenna is confident they can find ways to cushion some of the blows from the departure of the international games, but admits that falling income is a challenge. Turnover from all stadium activities was €36.8m, down some €14m.
When expenditure is taken away, the profit after interest and depreciation is €11.4m -- a drop of €10.4m or 47pc. Some €7m was returned to the GAA from the stadium, which brings the cumulative figure since 2006 to €58.5m.
Despite the loss of hosting international rugby and soccer, McKenna believes the stadium is still in a good position, though he admitted that finding non-GAA events to fill the voids will be testing.
"The challenge now is to see can we replace that income," he said. "In an economy when disposable income is tight, those types of opportunities are few and far between. But I'd be confident we'd get some innovative ideas together over the next couple of months."
McKenna admitted that pitching for Heineken Cup matches was not something Croke Park was going to get involved in.
"I don't think we would. It would be antagonistic to our fellow sports people. That would be the wrong way to do business," he said.
"If we got a request we'd put that in front of Ard Comhairle. I think though that any of the matches they'd have, they'd seek to hold them in the Aviva."
An NFL game involving the Pittsburgh Steelers or any other team is well down the line, according to McKenna, if it is to happen at all.
In total Croke Park hosted 60 GAA matches involving 26 counties on 27 different days.
The average attendance was 38,174 which was down on the 2009 average of 46,484. The footfall through the turnstiles for all events is also down to 1.5m from a high of 2m people a few years ago.
There was just one concert (Westlife) in 2010 and those three rugby matches; the International Rules Test also swelled figures. There were 15 pitch activity days for children.
The resale of Hogan Stand premium seats and boxes was over 90pc, which the report describes as "heartening."