Tuesday 16 January 2018

Media and sponsorship make up for replay loss

For two successive years in 2013 and 2014, hurling championship revenues outstripped football revenues, the first time ever that had happened (Stock picture)
For two successive years in 2013 and 2014, hurling championship revenues outstripped football revenues, the first time ever that had happened (Stock picture)
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The stability of GAA revenues is reflected in a set of 2015 accounts that is almost a mirror image of the previous year with just the absence of an All-Ireland hurling replay for the first time in four years creating a minor disturbance.

Croke Park's director of finance Tom Ryan has described the figures as "stable" after an income of €55.7million was generated, a fall of just over €500,000.

For two successive years in 2013 and 2014, hurling championship revenues outstripped football revenues, the first time ever that had happened.

But that has been reversed again as football rose with an All-Ireland semi-final replay between Dublin and Mayo that was almost a sell-out last September.

With a motion to restrict championship replays to just All-Ireland and provincial finals, the 'bonus' money from a replay could be less of a consideration.

Ryan pointed out that the association doesn't ever budget for replays and that the bottom line isn't money.

"The main objective (of the GAA) is not financial so as long as it delivers things in the other spheres, in terms of the games programme, in terms of availability of players for club matches and freeing up weekends and so on - that's the bigger picture," he said.

The €2.7m fall in gate receipts from €29.4m to €26.7m, largely down to the absence of a replay, was offset by a commercial performance which saw revenues rise by over €2.2m on 2014.

The average attendance at games overseen at central level was 19,000 through 2015.

Gate receipts for the football and hurling leagues were slightly down, six per cent in the case of football, 11pc for hurling.

From 339 games played just 48 were deemed 'profitable' with 29 of the 32 senior football matches and nine of the 11 senior hurling matches generating a return.

Media rights generated €11.2m, up from €10.4m as the impact of subscriptions for GAAGo were factored in.

Sponsoring revenue also soared, rising to €6.5m from €5.1m. Overall commercial revenues, which combine media and sponsorship, came in at €18.35m.

Interestingly, commercial revenue continues to gain a greater share of overall income and now runs at 33pc with gate receipts at 48pc.

Ten years ago the dependency on gate receipts was far higher at 63pc with commercial revenues accounting for 24pc.

Spending on games development, which helps to fund more than 200 coaches countrywide came in at €10.3m, up from €9.5m in 2014, which represents 19pc of overall spend. Player welfare schemes came in a €3.9m for 2015.


The Croke Park stadium continues to generate significant return for the GAA between concerts and hospitality.

The company that runs the stadium affairs, Pairc An Chrocaigh Teoranta, was in a position to return a similar figure, €7m, to the GAA on the back of match rental and €11.4m for the hiring of corporate facilities which would include three concerts held there in 2015.

The stadium turnover came in at €36.6m but profit to the company was down because of a €1m grant to the museum, no hurling final replay, no American Football match (€300,000), €600,000 in depreciation and a once-off €0.5m concert receipt.

Stadium director Peter McKenna reported that all premium seats had now sold out.

Over one million spectators attended games in Croke Park in 2015 with an average match attendance of 35,000.

Knee injuries continue to top fund's list of claims

Knee injuries continue to represent one in every three injuries that the GAA injury scheme paid out on in 2015.

Some 2,126 knee injuries came to the attention of the fund across all levels of adult and youth hurling and football.

It was by far the most common injury that required assistance from the fund which dealt with 6,294 cases, ranging from wrist, toe and internal organ injuries to heart, chest and abdominal. Two deaths are also recorded in the 2015 figures.

In underage football alone there were 199 cases of serious knee injury that required intervention from the fund.

Shoulder injuries are the second highest paid out on with 622, down from 724.

Ankle injuries were next on 541, a jump from 485. Wrist injuries also rose from 110 to 169.

Significantly, the number of hip injuries that the fund dealt with dropped from 381 to 235. Hip injuries, requiring corrective surgery, have been steadily on the rise in recent years.

The majority of the injuries – 3,916 – happened as a result of adult football matches.

The purpose of the scheme, which is self-funded through a percentage of gate receipts and team contributions and is not considered insurance, is to assist with expenses accrued from injuries that are considered unrecoverable.

This year the claims came to €7.96m, a slight drop from the 2014 figure of €8.25m.

Not surprisingly, there significantly more finger injuries in adult hurling than football despite a far smaller quantity of games.

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