Tuesday 11 December 2018

'Tá' for Hawk-Eye as profits jump at GAA firm

Hawk-Eye in operation during the 2014 All Ireland final clash between Kilkenny and Tipperary
Hawk-Eye in operation during the 2014 All Ireland final clash between Kilkenny and Tipperary

Gordon Deegan

The owners of Hawk-Eye last year recorded a 'big score' as pre-tax profits at the company rose 19.5pc to £4.47m (€5m).

The Hawk-Eye technology has become an integral part of the big GAA match occasions at Croke Park and Semple Stadium over the last number of years and the company's deal with the GAA has contributed to revenues increasing by 19pc - going from £18.7m to £22.4m (€25.3m) in the 12 months to the end of March last.

The use of the Hawk-Eye technology has added even more drama when its cameras are called into action over disputed calls as the 'Tá' or 'Níl' then appears on the big screen awarding the point or not.

The main growth in the firm's revenues was outside the UK where revenues last year in 'rest of world' increased by 20.5pc going from £15.3m to £18.55m.

In 2016, the GAA's use of Hawk-Eye extended to Semple Stadium.

First used as a broadcast tool to analyse decisions in Cricket, Hawk-Eye has now become an integral part of over 20 sports and every year covers 7,200 games or events across 450-plus stadiums in over 65 countries.

At Croke Park, the technology involves eight high-speed cameras with the ball position triangulated using four cameras covering each end of the stadium.

The technology's most momentous call in GAA to date decided the fate of the 2014 All Ireland final when it ruled wide a last-gasp free by Tipperary star hurler, John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer and Kilkenny subsequently went on to win the replay.

The Hawk-Eye technology was installed at Croke Park following 86pc of delegates at Congress backing installing the system. Hawk-Eye has long enjoyed a high public profile through its ball-tracking technology for tennis.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of £1.6m while numbers employed by the firm rose from 133 to 176.

This resulted in staff costs increasing from £5.1m to £6.8m. Accumulated profits at Hawk-Eye totalled £15.9m while the firm's cash pile increased £1m to £3.3m. £1m, the firm recorded post-tax profits of £3.42m.

After paying corporation tax of £1m, the firm recorded post-tax profits of £3.42m.

Irish Independent

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