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Ticket prices may not rise for another decade - Horan

GAA president defends hike, saying it's not an unreasonable move

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Reasoning: GAA president John Horan made a staunch defence of ticket price rises for matches. Pic: Sportsfile

Reasoning: GAA president John Horan made a staunch defence of ticket price rises for matches. Pic: Sportsfile

Reasoning: GAA president John Horan made a staunch defence of ticket price rises for matches. Pic: Sportsfile

John Horan has suggested it could be a decade before there's another hike in GAA ticket prices.

The GAA president made his prediction while issuing a staunch defence of Central Council's weekend decision to increase ticket prices for the first time in eight years.

Headline changes include All-Ireland final stand tickets rising from €80 to €90 and Allianz League tickets for the top two divisions, purchased on match-day, going from €15 to €20 - the latter a 33pc rise.

But Horan has defended the increases while suggesting it won't happen again for a long time. "If you look at it from 2011, when would the next increase happen? It probably won't happen for another eight to ten years," he said, speaking at yesterday's Croke Park launch of the 2019 Allianz Hurling League.

"So on that basis, you'll have had one increase in a period of nearly 20 years. I don't think that's unreasonable.

"We always say this, and not to beat the drum, but there's no shareholder dividend coming out of this other than back down through the organisation."

Favourably

Horan also maintained that, even at €90, the price of All-Ireland final tickets compares favourably to premium sporting events in rival codes.

"Everybody knows the impact of the All-Ireland finals in Irish society - and their value," the Dubliner stressed. "Look, you know how much people want to be there. We could put another 30,000 or 40,000 in Croke Park for an All-Ireland final. So in that sense, no, I don't think we're shooting ourselves in the foot.

"Time is going to tell and if the economy keeps on going the way it is, I don't think it'll be an issue. If the economy takes a downturn, well, it may impact on it."

But he added: "Everyone accused us last year of increasing the number of games that were being played because we were all revenue-driven or whatever, but that didn't happen. We didn't increase our revenues from it.

"Two reasons for that, I would say, was that the amount of games happened in such quick succession, it just didn't fit in with family budgets going to two All-Ireland semi-finals in the one weekend. And we gave up the month of September to clubs, and people were away on holidays and that impacted on it a lot."

The GAA accounts for 2018 have yet to be released, but Horan confirmed they will show "no lift" in gate receipts.

"You saw it yourself ... when have we ever got a smaller crowd at a Dublin semi-final? The rise was really in provincial areas in terms of the (hurling) round-robin in Leinster and Munster; centrally, you can see for yourself. However, and let's be honest, Mayo were a factor in that too, they bring great support with them."

Steep

Quizzed on the steep percentage hike in top-tier league tickets (from €15 to €20, or €12 to €15 when pre-purchased) the president said it was a conscious decision to do it all at once, rather than in piecemeal fashion.

"It's rounding it off," he expanded.

"Are you going to go to €18 and cause chaos? Are we going to have €2 at the gate and all that sort of a headache? So when you make these changes, you have to make them in fives. It's just the nature of the beast."

Horan predicted that the price increases for league matches alone will generate an extra €500,000.

This will be distributed as follows:

10pc to match-day costs such as stewards and Gardaí.

10pc to venue expenses and upkeep of grounds.

Expenses for match officials.

5pc to GAA Insurance Fund.

6pc to the Player Injury Fund - in 2018, nearly E9million was spent on over 6,000 claims for players' injuries.

20pc to the national pool, for lower league counties who do not have sufficient income to cover costs, rising to 30pc at the concluding league stages.

The balance, less than 50pc, between the two counties.


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