Hurling returns prove more than a match for football
HURLING had fewer than half as many games as football in last year's All-Ireland championships but yielded almost as much money.
While the Galway-Kilkenny All-Ireland final replay was a significant contributor to hurling's financial surge, the rest of the campaign compared more than favourably with its big-ball counterpart.
The hurling championships (not including the provincial campaigns) returned €10.6m from 14 games while football (31 games) yielded €10.9m. The hurling final replay had gate receipts of €2.6m.
Football did better for the All-Ireland semi and quarter-finals but hurling thrived in the qualifiers, averaging receipts of €70,000 for its eight games, compared to €48,200 for football over 24 games.
The biggest hurling qualifier gate (€291,000) was for the Limerick-Clare/Cork-Wexford double-header in Thurles while Kerry v Tyrone in Killarney (€277,000) topped the football qualifier yield.
The AIB All-Ireland senior club competitions continue to thrive, contributing the bulk of a €581,000 total across all grades. The U-21 inter-county championships showed well (€263,000) but other competitions made heavy losses.
The Christy Ring/Nicky Rackard/Lory Meagher Cups earned €22,500 between them, with five games showing no income, while the Leitrim-Warwickshire clash in Ballinamore in May grossed just €50.
The Divisional returns in the Allianz Leagues also show some interesting trends. The break-up in the four NFL divisions was as follows: Division 1: €1.1m; Division 2: €678,000; Division 3: €157,000; Division 4: €84,000.
The Division 1A NHL campaign was lucrative, earning over €1m for 20 games – marginally behind the NFL Division 1, which had 31 games.
The six-team format in 1A of the NHL is proving popular with the public, despite criticism from counties in 1B.
Income for Division 1B was €241,000 but the real drop occurred from there on, tapering down to a mere €444 for Division 3B, where four of the seven games showed zero gate receipts. Division 3A brought in just €2,281 – six games had less than €100 receipts. It raises the question as to whether any admission should be charged for games in the lower divisions.
The inter-provincial games earned just over €10,000, which will further add to the clamour to remove them from the schedule.