Provincial councils in line for summer windfall
The Leinster and Munster Councils are in line for a major financial windfall over the summer, arising from the new formats for their senior hurling championships, which begin next month.
However, their gain will be Croke Park's loss as there are no All-Ireland qualifiers this year. Leinster and Munster both have 11 games (ten 'round robin' plus the final) and with every round featuring interesting action, massive public interest is guaranteed.
Last year's four Munster Championship games attracted a total attendance of 128,000 while Leinster totalled 115,000.
That was a huge increase on previous years in Leinster and was brought about mainly by Wexford's revival. A record crowd of over 60,000 attended the Wexford-Galway final.
"We would be very confident that the new-look championship will be a big hit with the public. Wexford's games against Kilkenny and Galway will be huge draws, as will Galway against Kilkenny in Pearse Stadium. And then we have the final to come," said Leinster Council CEO, Michael Reynolds.
"The meeting with Kilkenny will be Galway's first home game in the Leinster Championship, which is a big occasion in itself.
"And with Kilkenny going there as league champions, there will be big interest, not just in the two counties but right around the hurling scene. Wexford going well last year was a great boost for our championship and we're now in a good position to press on again this year with the new format."
Munster's average attendance for their four games last year was 32,000, peaking with a 45,500 turn-out for the Cork-Clare final.
It won't be that high this year but it would be a big surprise if the ten 'round robin' games didn't average 15,000 each. If that's attained, followed by a crowd of over 40,000 at the final, it would deliver a final figure of around 190,000, up 62,000 on 2017.