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Wednesday 20 June 2018

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Dublin reign supreme - but where does your county rank on the 2018 GAA rich list?

 

17 September 2017; Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire cup after the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
17 September 2017; Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire cup after the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

When Wicklow roll into O'Moore Park in Portlaoise tomorrow week to play Dublin in a Leinster quarter-final - a match their manager John Evans has already compared the killing of a fly with a sledgehammer, the gulf in financing the counties will be just as great

It has always been that way but with Dublin maximising their profile and success as three-in-a-row All-Ireland football champions, that gap has never been as pronounced. The difference in commercial revenue between the counties, based on 2017 accounts, will be 12-fold. Trying to finance inter-county preparations that were an official €25m at the last count has become a trying task for county boards and their treasurers. To some, it comes easier than to others. As the GAA championships step up another gear this weekend, we compare what counties are generating to fund these operations.

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Last autumn a prominent Dublin GAA club organised a golf classic with a little bit of a difference from the standard event many other clubs run to raise the funds. The entry fee for a team of four was €6,000. They got 30 teams.

Prizes weren't anything more lavish than the norm for an event like it and the club took away a healthy profit. Straightforward multiplication with a little bit of subtraction gives you an idea of how much. The response gave an illustration as to the financial muscle some Dublin clubs (not all it must be said) can reach to.

Where else could 30 businesses or individuals respond to an invitation like it? If it happened at county level it would be deemed an outstanding success. But this was just one pocket of Dublin, albeit a pocket that runs deep in resources and, quite clearly, finance.

Step it up a level and the queue of benefactors for the county is of a similar scale. In 2017 Dublin's commercial revenue was €1.46m, more than twice that of Cork, the county with the second-highest return.

Last week, Dublin and AIG put pen to paper to extend their existing sponsorship deal for another five years. The original deal was worth an estimated €4m to Dublin, but the value of it to both parties soared above that in real terms. The Dublin football landscape now is different even to what it was when the insurance giant and the county board first shook hands in November 2013.

Three more All-Ireland senior football titles, two more All-Ireland U-21 titles, all the Allianz football leagues with the exception of 2017 and an All-Ireland ladies title have been added to magnify the exposure. You can imagine how anxious AIG were for the ink to dry last week. And you can imagine that there had to have been a little bit more in it for Dublin with that extended roll of honour.

AIG are the pillar sponsors of Dublin GAA but there are a fleet of associates in their slipstream, providing services and resources from hotel space to water and sportswear to transport. On the Dublin GAA website, 14 'partners' are listed.

If there wasn't such corporate and business interest in dealing with Dublin, the county with the largest population and, in recent times, most football success, it would be a poor reflection on the GAA's health in general. But it is an eye-watering figure nonetheless, so far ahead even of their main rivals that underpins just how great the commercial divide is.

Dublin's €1.46m allows them to comfortably provide for their teams and infrastructure around it without hitting the fundraising trail that other counties follow.

Their accounts for 2017 show just €55,000 under the 'fundraising' table, one of the lowest in the country. Without an itemised breakdown, there can only be speculation about that.

Yet an annual fundraising dinner for the team in the city's Shelbourne Hotel in November can command up to €3,000 per table.

The only county that can come close to competing on that scale is, appropriately, their biggest football challengers in recent years, Mayo. While they are commercially adrift, their fundraising vehicles through Cáirde Mhaigheo produces staggering returns, far and away the biggest from any support base. With €200 season-ticket subscriptions at the maximum of 3,400, that still represents a healthy return when the ticket cost for the games are stripped out.

Last year, fundraising generated more than €900,000 through this scheme, their online Lotto which soars at All-Ireland time and various other fundraising events that take place around All-Ireland final time generating huge support, on top of overseas contributions.

Combine official commercial and fundraising amounts for 2017 and Dublin and Mayo almost operated on a par, far ahead of every other county.

Clearly, Dublin have benefited from the appointment of former player Tomás Quinn as their commercial and marketing manager. But now Wexford and Kerry have followed Dublin's lead with Wexford appointing county player Eanna Martin as their commercial manager and Kerry are set to appoint Maurice O'Meara, who has extensive background in golf management and marketing.

The establishment of Cairde Chorcaí should help to put the Cork teams on a better financial footing in future years but the county is already well served by the second most lucrative sponsorship deal, with Chill Insurance forking out €409,000 last year for their association.

Success on the field is leading to success off it for Galway too. The county has had its financial challenges but on Thursday, Supermac's announced an extension of their 27-year involvement with Galway for a further five years in a deal that could be worth €2m to the board over that time.

Kerry have been the most energetic fundraisers in recent years with their trips to the US and the UK putting a considerable hole in the Currans Centre of Excellence development.

From New York alone their ventures have yielded in excess of €2m, over the last six to seven years, it is estimated. Their audited 'other' sponsorship figure, part of their commercial figure, was €259,000 for 2017, though it doesn't indicate if this is all from Kerry Group.

But for many, the 'trickle-down' effect from such financial buoyancy at the top is not felt, hardening the case for further weighting towards these counties from central funds.

Dublin meet Wicklow in a Leinster quarter-final next weekend when the vast gulf in commercial resources will be almost at its widest.

In 2017 Wicklow generated €86,000 in commercial revenue, chiefly through its arrangement with home heating system manufacturers Joule who have also taken up naming rights to the county ground in Aughrim.

Fundraising for the county on top of that came in at €145,000 but around €125,000 was levied from club administration contributions with €6,000 from a golf classic and €14,000 from contributions to the county's academy. It's mere pocket money just across the border.

Leitrim's accounts have drawn attention in the past with the comparisons made between their loyal chief sponsor, the Bush Hotel, at €15,000 per year and AIG at an estimated €800,000 at the other end of the scale. But commercial revenue for Leitrim in 2017 amounted to €122,000 when all other contributions were factored. Local bars, pharmacies, a quarry and a monument manufacturer are among those who subscribe sums from €1,000 to €10,000 to ensure the county is sufficiently resourced.

Fundraising is chiefly organised through supporters clubs and among the most productive are Club Tyrone which has helped to fund the state-of-the-art Garvaghey training complex.

But last year, from a gross take of €429,000, Club Rossie, the supporters vehicle in Roscommon, raised €260,947 to fund the county. One of their most productive sources of revenue is the Club Rossie bus, purchased by the supporters club for use by county teams and others. A business membership scheme yielded €55,450.

Club Clare's fundraising activities for hurling (€101,698) and football (€46,000) were able to help purchase a €10,000 gym upgrade and €14,000 worth of game analysis equipment, among other things.

Once-off fundraising is reflected throughout the accounts too. Meath raised close to €250,000 hosting a tribute night to Sean Boylan in New York last year to lift their figures sharply on other years.

In analysing figures produced for end-of-year accounts across 30 of the 32 counties, it should be prefaced that not every county presents items in uniform fashion.

Some, for instance, will include the standard €175,000 from Croke Park as a dividend for central media and sponsorship, as part of their commercial revenues. For the purposes of this exercise, we excluded that €175,000 figure from our attached commercial table. Some counties will also include ground rent, the money paid to them by Central Council and provincial councils for hosting games but again, we excluded that.

In some cases, commercial and fundraising ventures overlap. Cavan have listed their €40,000 sponsorship from Kingpsan for the naming rights to Breffni Park as part of fundraising but for this, we added it to their commercial return.

Commercial returns will include sponsorship for local club championships and while not directly linked to the inter-county game they are still, nonetheless, an indication of a county's financial well-being.

Main sponsorship is the central fork of any county, though gear contributions also help to fill the commercial income schedules considerably. But some counties have turned to naming rights of their county grounds as an added source.

Innovate's contribution for attachment to Wexford Park is understood to be €25,000, TEG's bill for Cusack Park is thought to be €20,000, Kingspan's €40,000 for Breffni Park has already been referenced, while the Bord na Móna-O'Connor Park link in Tullamore is an estimated €300,000 deal over 10 years. Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow, Joule Park in Aughrim and Elvery's MacHale Park in Castlebar also have agreements in place.

Offaly have a separate set of accounts for O'Connor Park which show €32,479 for signage there, an income stream that would lift their commercial figure if it was applied there instead. Overall, O'Connor Park generated €348,029 for Offaly in 2017 between rent, the signage, a development fund and a shop which helps to offset costs of its upkeep.

The picture can never be completely accurate for like-for-like comparisons because not every county presents items in the same manner. But it's clear enough to illustrate just how great the divide is.

Here is the complete 2018 GAA Rich List:

1 Dublin

Commercial: €1,462,529

Fundraising: €54,997

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €213,892

Expenses: €251,854

Provincial: €29,250

TOTAL: €2,187,522

TEAM COSTS: €1,604,353

 

2 Mayo

Commercial: €549,705

Fundraising: €921,249

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €143,805

Expenses: €370,284

Provincial: €8,600

TOTAL: €2,168,643

TEAM COSTS: €1,542,547

 

3 Galway

Commercial: €535,660

Fundraising: €497,805

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €154,538

Expenses: €271,480

Provincial: €71,770*

*Includes 29,250 Leinster payment for hurlers

TOTAL: €1,680,933

TEAM COSTS: €1,295,639

 

4 Cork

Commercial: €708,201

Fundraising: €122,725

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €112,964

Expenses: €94,586

Provincial: €71,770

TOTAL: €1,285,246

TEAM COSTS: €1,747,609

 

5 Kerry

Commercial: €466,509

Fundraising: €153,917

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €157,220

Expenses: €145,420

Provincial: €46,260*

*Includes €6,000 payment from Leinster for hurlers

TOTAL: €1,144,326

TEAM COSTS: €1,030,443

 

6 Tipperary

Commercial: €568,280

Fundraising: €121,538

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €193,535

Expenses: €48,070

Provincial: €16,650

TOTAL: €1,123,073

TEAM COSTS: €1,070,353

 

7 Meath

Commercial: €399,654

Fundraising: €329,093

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €52,237

Expenses: €37,136

Provincial: €22,750

TOTAL: €1,015,870

TEAM COSTS: €658,487

 

8 Wexford

Commercial: €320,071

Fundraising: €333,235

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €131,298

Expenses: €24,212

Provincial: €26,000

TOTAL: €1,009,823

TEAM COSTS: €945,224

 

9 Donegal

Commercial: €470,658

Fundraising: €176,283

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €103,642

Expenses: €46,510

Provincial: €13,000

TOTAL: €985,093

TEAM COSTS: €952,697

 

10 Kilkenny

Commercial: €471,988

Fundraising: €126,000

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €99,785

Expenses: €64,508

Provincial: €16,750

TOTAL: €954,041

TEAM COSTS: €633,148

 

11 Waterford

Commercial: €257,625

Fundraising: €156,256

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €103,745

Expenses: €193,956

Provincial: €42,670*

*Includes €20,000 payment for reaching All-Ireland hurling final

TOTAL: €929,252

TEAM COSTS: €872,607

 

12 Tyrone

Commercial: €292,666

Fundraising: €296,146

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €82,996

Expenses: €57,008

Provincial: €22,000

TOTAL: €925,816

TEAM COSTS: €645,928

 

13 Limerick

Commercial: €450,163

Fundraising: €93,275

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €87,151

Expenses: €23,998

Provincial: €30,420

TOTAL: €860,007

TEAM COSTS: €1,148,631

 

14 Cavan

Commercial: €334,657

Fundraising: €171,920

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €111,152

Expenses: €39,720

Provincial: €15,000

TOTAL: €847,449

TEAM COSTS: €617,161

 

15 Monaghan

Commercial: €380,387

Fundraising: €135,476

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €96,224

Expenses: €39,264

Provincial: €9,000

TOTAL: €835,381

TEAM COSTS: €640,728

 

16 Roscommon

Commercial: €225,847

Fundraising: €260,947

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €94,165

Expenses: €36,980

Provincial: €24,100

TOTAL: €817,039

TEAM COSTS: €866,333

 

17 Derry

Commercial: €271,846

Fundraising: €153,937

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €46,867

Expenses: €118,294

Provincial: €23,500

TOTAL: €789,444

TEAM COSTS: €558,057

 

18 Kildare

Commercial: €289,777

Fundraising: €174,636

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €68,832

Expenses: €24,935

Provincial: €17,000

TOTAL: €750,183

TEAM COSTS: €756,093

 

19 Down

Commercial: €190,447

Fundraising: €229,415

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €54,595

Expenses: €28,762

Provincial: €20,000

TOTAL: €698,219

TEAM COSTS: €562,044

 

20 Clare

Commercial: €182,542

Fundraising: €147,698

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €93,296

Expenses: €55,986

Provincial: €41,925

TOTAL: €696,447

TEAM COSTS: €710,175

 

21 Sligo

Commercial: €180,000

Fundraising: €200,000

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €59,391

Expenses: €58,206

Provincial: €10,800

TOTAL: €683,397

TEAM COSTS: €546,000

 

22 Laois

Commercial: €196,608

Fundraising: €154,641

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €45,367

Expenses: €25,380

Provincial: €25,000

TOTAL: €621,996

TEAM COSTS: €698,644

 

23 Carlow

Commercial: €153,422

Fundraising: €122,725

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €45,367

Expenses: €40,793

Provincial: €11,750

TOTAL: €549,057

TEAM COSTS: €576,992

 

24 Leitrim

Commercial: €122,455

Fundraising: €120,135

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €56,367

Expenses: €44,180

Provincial: €8,600

TOTAL: €526,737

TEAM COSTS: €298,629

 

25 Fermanagh

Commercial: €61,700

Fundraising: €169,114

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €49,447

Expenses: €31,728

Provincial: €8,000

TOTAL: €492,989

TEAM COSTS: €461,045

 

26 Wicklow

Commercial: €85,883

Fundraising: €145,590

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €49,327

Expenses: €25,740

Provincial: €9,500

TOTAL: €491,040

TEAM COSTS: €367,972

 

27 Westmeath

Commercial: €144,910

Fundraising: €82,650

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €47,179

Expenses: €10,496

Provincial: €24,750

TOTAL: €484,985

TEAM COSTS: €750,517

 

28 Offaly

Commercial: €178,639

Fundraising: €36,408

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €53,901

Expenses: €10,000

Provincial: €25,250

TOTAL: €479,198

TEAM COSTS: €694,147

 

29 Longford

Commercial: €82,103

Fundraising: €88,902

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €46,867

Expenses: €16,932

Provincial: €8,750

TOTAL: €418,554

TEAM COSTS: €444,834

 

30 Louth

Commercial: €132,567

Fundraising: €19,059

Central Media: €175,000

Competitions: €46,987

Expenses: €22,318

Provincial: €17,500

TOTAL: €395,931

TEAM COSTS: €421,686

 

Figures for Antrim and Armagh not available.

CASE STUDY:

Supermac’s trying to make the most of their long-running sponsorship deal with Galway GAA

As Galway hurling’s main sponsor for 27 years, Pat McDonagh can identify the feel of a losing All-Ireland final dressing-room.

Until last September, Galway had lost five finals (1993, 2001, 2005, 2012 and 2015) and drawn one (2012) and, as one of the more hands-on sponsorship figures around, McDonagh has had an intimate insight into what it’s like.

“There is no lonelier place to be,” he said.

The hands-on approach he is renowned for in business – he was recently behind the counter helping to serve in the Supermac’s outlet at the Galway Plaza just off the M6 – is mirrored in his sporting interests too, particularly his association with the Galway hurlers that dates back to 1991 when company logos were first worn on the front of GAA jerseys. Six years ago they took on the sponsorship of the Galway football team too.

McDonagh’s love for Galway GAA is evident by his long-standing sponsorship relationship and his omnipresence at matches around the country.

But there is a brand angle too and the link with Galway has been in tandem with the company’s growth around Ireland. From 30 to 35 outlets in the early 1990s, that figure has now risen to 108.

“It certainly was a big help to us when we were trying to build a brand. I come from a hurling area so it felt natural to me to support it,” McDonagh said.

He’s had to make his money work hard and now he’s going to have to stretch it even further.

Supermac’s have recently agreed an extension to their Galway sponsorship for a further five years but with that comes additional cost, an estimated €300,000 main payment per year now, up from €220,000 that the attached table shows. With add-ons and bonuses, that could come in at €400,000 per year.

The company estimates that €511,300 was spent on their GAA sponsorship in 2017. Of that, they attribute €346,500 spent directly on Galway GAA. The rest is made of support to brand promotion and funding of schools and clubs.

The bulk sponsorship came in at €220,000 but contributions to functions at the Galway Races and on the run-in to the All-Ireland final came to €80,000.

Bonuses for winning the All-Ireland senior and minor titles as well as the league and Leinster titles were €25,000.

One of the biggest outlays is for advertising and marketing which came to €122,400. Many companies involved with teams operate on the ‘euro for a euro’ principle – what they spend directly on sponsorship they match on promoting the sport.

“We wouldn’t spend as much money on advertising as some of our more international competitors.

“We like to give back to the local community through sponsorship of local teams. We sponsor quite a few teams around the country, not just in Gaelic games but ladies’ football, camogie, rugby, soccer. It’s as much giving back to the community where you are getting your business from as much as anything else,” he admitted.

McDonagh said that once a deal is done with the county board he is left to his own devices.

“As a sponsor, you have to maximise it yourself. You have to work it yourself. Whatever you spend on sponsorship you have to spend as much again in promoting it, whether that’s through advertisements on match-day programmes or putting stickers on cars or flags or whatever the case may be.”

Irish Independent

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