Ticket prices to fall
Croker opts to give fans cheaper admission to All-Ireland series
GAA supporters can look forward to reduced admission prices for this year's All-Ireland championships with details of the cuts to be announced early next month.
They will apply from the start of the All-Ireland qualifiers in late June and take in all games from there to the All-Ireland semi-finals, but prices for the final stages are likely to remain unaltered.
Croke Park has yet to confirm the reductions, but informed sources indicate that it's now a foregone conclusion that they will apply.
They will be welcomed by GAA fans, amid complaints that admission prices have remained too high for provincial championships.
The provincial councils restructured their ticket packages, offering various deals for families and groups, but individual purchasers argue that prices are too high in the current economic climate.
It's understood that the reductions for the All-Ireland championships will be on the headline price, making it cheaper for patrons who buy on an individual basis. Package deals will also be available and they too are expected to be cheaper than last year.
Croke Park (Central Council) has no jurisdiction over ticket pricing for provincial championships, but did issue a strong hint early in the year that they expected headline admission prices to be cut. However, the main offers continue to centre on package/family deals which don't apply to individuals.
Control of the championships switches to Croke Park for the qualifiers/All-Ireland series -- hence the plan to announce reductions after they have been approved by Central Council early next month.
The impending cuts highlight the complicated control systems which apply in the GAA where Central Council -- the next highest authority to Congress -- has no power over admission prices for provincial championships.
It would have been a much better PR exercise if Croke Park were in a position to announce reductions across all championships prior to the start of the provincial series this month.
Meanwhile, both Croke Park and the provincial councils will be keeping a close watch on the turnout at Sunday's Tipperary-Cork tie in Thurles.
A clash between the All-Ireland hurling champions and the only team to beat them in the 2010 championship, would be regarded as a bellwether game in terms of suggesting a trend for provincial attendances at a time when the economy is even more depressed than it was a year ago.
Cork and Tipperary have clashed in each of the last three Munster championships, attracting an average attendance of 38,250. However, in the new economic climate, anything over 30,000 would be regarded as satisfactory.