GAA see increase in revenue in 2016, but warn of lower attendances

The GAA have reported a €4million revenue boost for 2016, driven by an increase in gate receipts, writes Stephen Barry.

Gate receipts were up €3million last year, largely attributed to the All-Ireland football final replay which attracted an additional 82,249 people into Croke Park.

Despite the replayed final, however, championship attendances across the year were down by 40,000, a trend GAA Finance Director Tom Ryan described as “not sustainable”.

In attendance at the GAA Annual Finances launch are, from left, Tom Ryan, Director of Finance, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail, and Peter McKenna, Commercial Manager of the GAA and Croke Park Stadium Director. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

“The apparent contradiction is explained by variations in the mix – differing trends in attendances at different stages of the competitions,” Ryan wrote in the report.

“The challenge is to increase attendances – and revenues – at the earlier rounds of the qualifiers.

“The trend in recent years has been for lower turnouts in round 1 and 2 and increasing reliance on the latter stages.

“This is not sustainable and has an adverse effect on the competitions far beyond the financial.”

Championship attendances dropped by 5%, an average drop of 1,739 per game – from 19,211 in 2015 to 17,472 in 2016.

Ryan also warned that personal injury claims to the Association are unsustainable, averaging near €3 million annually for the past five years.

However, total revenues increased from €56.5million in 2015 to €60.5million in 2016, an increase of 7%. Almost half of that figure (€30.1million) is accounted for by gate receipts.

Ryan summarised: “I am pleased to report that 2016 was another good financial year for the GAA.

“Of course any year which features a replay in an All-Ireland Senior Championship Final is likely to turn out well, but aside from that obvious boost we fared well on many less obvious fronts as well. Contributing to a year of solid financial returns and continued progress.”

The GAA stressed that all revenue is funnelled goes back into the Association, with 23% distributed to counties, 20% to games development, 19% on match and competition costs, 17% on administration and 14% on grants.

The GAA's key figures

  • Increase of €4m in revenues to €60m
  • Gate receipts up by €3m
  • Central Council championship attendances drop by 40,000
  • Commercial revenues stable at €19m
  • Direct cost of matches up to €12m
  • Distributions to units up to €13m
  • Games development up to €11m
  • Player welfare down slightly at €4m
  • Operating costs increased to €10m
  • Capital expenditure and grants of €10m
  • Net result is break-even

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