The Cork County Board recognises the need for a commercial manager to drive other revenue streams, with an appointment expected in the “medium term”.
Board secretary Kevin O’Donovan pointed out that other counties — such as Dublin, Wexford and Kerry — have commercial managers in place to create partnerships within those counties to benefit the GAA.
“We need more commercial partners, we’re behind the curve with other counties on that.
“We expect to appoint a commercial manager in the medium term— possibly shared with the stadium, possibly shared with Cairde Chorcaí, but that has to come urgently.
“You may feel the last thing we need is more staff if we’re running losses, but we need people who can generate revenue for us. That role will be vital and it’s common practice in a number of counties.”
Regarding the fall in attendances — and the impact of that fall on board revenue -— chair Tracy Kennedy said it underlined the need to “move away” from the dependence on gates to fund the board’s activities.
“I find that concerning (fall in attendances) but not surprising. It emphasises something I’ve felt for a long time, the need to move away from the dependence on gates that we’ve had for many years.
“Our culture and society is changing and one of my projects has been to increase commercial income.
A commercial manager would address anomalies such as the county sponsorship deal — which wasn’t linked to underage success. Thus, while Cork won All-Irelands at minor and U20 football level this year, sponsorship revenue for 2019 was €330,000, down from €400,000 in 2018.
“Our sponsors are brilliant,” said O’Donovan.
“But the new deals are performance-related to our intercounty senior teams. While our underage teams were successful it (the deal) is not linked to that, it’s linked to the success of our senior teams.” O’Donovan added that such a commercial manager would bring different fundraising initiatives together.
“There’s an issue here in that every company is building some kind of loyalty package.
“We need a commercial manager who ties Cairde Chorcaí membership into premium ticketing here in the stadium, our intercounty and club season tickets — and we have to look at the model where a customer can have a Ryanair version, a business class version or a first class version.
“Until we have a person who’s locking all that together, then we will be in competition with other bodies also raising money for Cork GAA.”