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GAA promises no hike in ticket prices but 'we won’t be in the same position next year'

Director general Tom Ryan vows supporters won’t be hit with increase after record €96m income and €2.5m surplus


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The GAA has opted not to hike championship ticket prices for 2023, despite post-Covid and cost of living financial pressures.

Central Council took in record revenues in the 2022 financial year with income of €96.1m surpassing €73.9m taken in during the last comparable financial year pre-Covid, 2019. The 2022 figure is swelled by €21.37m in State funding with Covid support still appearing on the balance sheet as a portion was applicable during that period.

When costs were stripped out, the record income left an operating surplus of €36.33m, which allowed the GAA to distribute €24.1m in capital grants, including €14m for the redevelopment of Casement Park, and a further €9.75m in grants to counties. That left the Association with a €2.5m surplus.

The main driver is gate receipts, which were back to normal levels with Covid restrictions on crowds lifted in early February. That allowed gates to climb and consequently €33.4m was taken in between league, championship and club championship fixtures, below the €36.1m in 2019 that included an All-Ireland final replay between Dublin and Kerry, but €3.8m higher than the €29.6m figure from 2018. Because of Covid, gates were €11.66m in 2021.

But a €17m dividend from the Croke Park stadium, the highest ever, helped by €7.6m from the seven Garth Brooks/Ed Sheeran concerts, also drove the performance.

Commercial revenue was down to €22.4m in 2022 from €26.2m in 2021, a drop of €3.8m which was explained by two All-Ireland championships falling in the 2021 financial year, the 2020 championship which was played through November and December that year and the 2021 championship itself.

GAA director general Tom Ryan said the decision over whether to increase championship ticket prices was “challenging.”

“The surplus is great but is predicated on non-recurring things. We won’t be in the same position next year. We’re under the same cost pressure as any other enterprise,” he said.

The director-general also warned of the erosion of volunteerism amid rising team preparation costs, €32.5m for 2022.

“The size and cost of backroom personnel of senior inter-county teams is becoming simply unsustainable. The values of the Association are being eroded with each paid addition to the backroom team and voluntary roles are in danger of becoming a thing of the past,” he said.

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