GAA freeze ticket prices until 2013
THE GAA is to maintain ticket prices at current levels until 2013 at the earliest. President Christy Cooney said yesterday that maintaining attendance figures at high levels was the priority for the immediate future.
"We have no intention of increasing (ticket) prices in my presidency anyway. We recognise the difficult economic situation that is there for our membership,"he said.
Cooney's presidency will end in April 2012, by which time the GAA's budget for that year will be finalised, which means that ticket prices will remain at current levels until 2013 at the earliest.
He promised that attractive admission packages for families and clubs would again be in place for this year's championships.
"Our attendances held up last year and that's the ambition again this year. The opening round of the National football League was very promising in that regard. Season ticket purchases have doubled which is also very positive," he said.
Despite the economic downturn, the GAA will not be afraid to borrow for worthwhile projects over the next few years. Income streams will be seriously hit by the loss of rent revenue for international rugby and soccer games in Croke Park, leaving the GAA facing a new commercial reality.
Cooney said that while they would be extremely prudent, they would be prepared to borrow money for worthwhile projects.
"We'll look at projects through the National Infra-structure Committee. If the projects are worthwhile and we feel that it is the interests of the Association to borrow money, we'll examine it very closely."
By the end of March, the GAA will have made €36m in four seasons from renting Croke Park to the IRFU and FAI and with €28m still to be allocated, it's planned to hold a briefing session over the next 10 days to outline plans for the disbursement of the money.
The GAA will enter a new financial phase when rugby and soccer leave Croke Park. However, their track record is good and despite the credit squeeze, Cooney believes that the GAA would have no difficulty acquiring borrowings from banks for the right projects.
"We have always had a good track record of meeting our commitments. I don't think there is a better brand than the GAA in the country. I think we will have the wherewithal to go and sit down with the major financial institutions to negotiate a positive deal for the Association because of the brand we have and our positive track record with repayments," he said.