Saturday 25 May 2019

Croke Park concerts to net GAA a €5m bonanza

Garth Brooks announces he will play Ireland for the first time in 17 years
Garth Brooks announces he will play Ireland for the first time in 17 years
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Revenue generated from seven concerts in Croke Park this summer will reap a €5m windfall for the GAA.

The addition of a fourth Garth Brooks concert on Monday, July 28, which was announced yesterday, will generate around €3m alone over that weekend.

With One Direction playing three nights at the venue in June and the 'Croke Park Classic', the opening game of the American Football college season between Penn State and University of Central Florida, taking place at the end of August, the rental from 'special events at Croke Park in 2014 are set to give the stadium's finances a real shot in the arm.

Overall GAA revenues rose by €2m to €55m on the back of another healthy set of attendance figures for matches governed by Central Council (provincial championships excluded). The numbers attending these games rose by 11pc accounting for €2.6m.

The GAA's commercial director Peter McKenna, who is also stadium director, has confirmed that Croke Park is debt free for the first time after a redevelopment that has cost in the region of €285m.

McKenna admitted that the GAA thought "long and hard" about a fourth Garth Brooks concert last week when demand was so high for the three original concerts and said they were mindful of the disruption four successive nights will cause to the local community who they meet next week.

With the last concert on Monday, it gives employees less than five days to have the stadium ready for All-Ireland football quarter-finals the following weekend.

That's even shorter than the same time frame involved with the last U2 concerts in 2009 when All-Ireland quarter-finals were played on the following Sunday, but McKenna pointed out that only a portion of the surface will have to be relaid at the Hill 16 end this time.

"We have been there before and we have done it, but I don't want to underplay it. It's not without risk, but it's a risk that we're well able to manage," he said.

Irish Independent

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