Friday 23 August 2019

Croke Park set for major cash bonanza with attendances to hit 1.5m mark


Despite early-season fears over football attendances, the All-Ireland championships are set to beat last year’s total. Photo: Sportsfile
Despite early-season fears over football attendances, the All-Ireland championships are set to beat last year’s total. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Despite early-season fears over football attendances, the All-Ireland championships are set to beat last year's total.

Without replays, 1,488,933 attended last year's hurling and football campaigns. This year's total so far stands at 1,171,224 (exclusive of replays) and with eight games (seven football, one hurling) still to be played, the 1.5 million mark should be surpassed.

The two All-Ireland finals will add a combined total of 164,600, while next Sunday's final round of Super 8s football games is expected to draw around 40,000.

It leaves the football semi-finals needing to attract 124,176 to bring the overall figure to 1.5 million. That's an average of 62,088 per semi-final, which is certain to be exceeded.

Sell-out

Irrespective of the opposition, the semi-final involving Dublin will be close to a sell-out and with Tyrone, Kerry, Donegal and Mayo all still in the mix, there will be big interest in the second semi-final, too.

The total hurling attendance will be 678,471, an increase of 41,565 on last year. Munster has contributed an extra 32,741 as the popularity of the southern campaign continues to grow.

The 11 games drew almost 282,000 this year, up 33,000 on last season and a whopping 154,000 more than 2017, the last time the championship was played under the straight knockout system.

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Leinster hurling had broadly similar yields to last year, while Leinster and Ulster football showed increases. Munster and Connacht football were both down.

Round 3 and 4 of the football qualifiers showed increases and while the novelty value of the Super 8s has passed, the final figure will be similar to last year if this weekend's four games beat the 40,000-mark.

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