THE GAA'S inter-county programme generates average weekly spending of over €9.3m, which translates into €3.7m per week in real value for the Irish economy.
It means that every inter-county player generates an average of €100,000 annually for the Irish economy, a figure which the GPA hopes will greatly enhance their case not to have Government funding cut in next month's Budget.
The figures, contained in an economic and social impact study commissioned by the GPA, show that annual spending generated by inter-county activity is €484.5m, which translates into €193.3m in real value to the Irish economy.
The returns do not include other income streams such as merchandising, TV advertising and media. Club activity is not included either, which means that the overall return is higher than the figures contained in the 66-page report, carried out by Indecon International Economic Consultants.
It shows that 2,598 jobs are sustained by inter-county games. The GPA will use the findings to lobby Government in an attempt to retain the €1.01m annual allocation to the player grant scheme. It has already been cut from €3.75m and now there are fears that it could be hit again. Under the current terms, players receive between €700 and €300, depending on how long their counties remain in the championship.
GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell said that the study provided conclusive evidence of the enormous economic and cultural contribution inter-county players make to the country.
"It re-affirms for us one of the key principles behind Government funding for hurlers and footballers," he said. "It's encouraging to note from the study the influence that inter-county players continue to have in encouraging participation in sport."