Monday 24 July 2017

Brexit and Trump double-act pose a threat to Croke Park's corporate plans

Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna has warned of the risk to future growth posed by external factors, including Brexit and Trump. Photo: Sportsfile
Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna has warned of the risk to future growth posed by external factors, including Brexit and Trump. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as American president could have a negative long-term impact on Croke Park's capacity to attract corporate events.

Income at the stadium last year increased by €2m on 2015 to €26.7m while consolidated group turnover was up by 13 per cent to €41.5m.

Over 3,000 premium seat deals were renewed. However, stadium director Peter McKenna warned of the risk to future growth posed by external factors, including Brexit and Trump.

"We are now seen as a core player in the venue space and are constantly bringing marquee events to the stadium.

"Our efforts in the UK have been slower than expected and, looking forward, we must be mindful of trickle down from volatility in the global marketplace, US election, the impact of FDI (foreign direct investment), Brexit, a weak sterling and hotel shortages in Dublin impacting on the capital's competitiveness," said McKenna.

Croke Park's sales representatives have noticed a change in the British market place since the Brexit vote last June.

"Companies are pulling in their horns and waiting to see how things develop. The unavailability of hotel rooms in Dublin at certain times is also a worrying issue for us," he said.

McKenna revealed that negotiations were at advanced stage for a third concert in Croke Park this summer. Coldplay and U2 will play there in July, leaving another date available under the terms of Croke Park's planning permission.

"We would be confident that will we have a third concert," said McKenna.

While specific returns for each concert are not included in Croke Park's annual accounts, it's estimated that it runs at around €1m per night.

A figure of €4.7m in included under the 'hire of facilities' heading in the 2016 accounts, while corporate facilities yielded €12.4m. Rent for All-Ireland championship and league games earned over €7m.

Significantly, the yield from the Leinster championships was down by over €200,000 to €581,000, arising from a combination of factors including taking Dublin footballers to Nowlan Park for their quarter-final clash with Laois and smaller crowds at other games.

"It's of concern that the Leinster Championship rental revenues were reduced by over a quarter as Dublin continue to dominate this competition," said McKenna.

Irish Independent

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