Increased ticket prices and All-Ireland replay see GAA revenues hit record high

The All-Ireland football final replay, an increase in ticket prices for Allianz League and Championship games, and a general spike in gate receipts all contributed to a bumper 2019 financial year for the GAA.

GAA Director General Tom Ryan, right, addresses the media alongside President John Horan, and Stadium & Commercial Director Peter McKenna. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
GAA Director General Tom Ryan, right, addresses the media alongside President John Horan, and Stadium & Commercial Director Peter McKenna. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Central Council's combined revenues reached €73.9m for 2019 - up €10.3m on the previous year

Top GAA officials revealed the good news this afternoon and confirmed that a solid performance from the company that runs Croke Park also contributed to an excellent overall bottom line.

GAA Finance Director Ger Mulryan revealed that September's All-Ireland football final replay between Dublin and Kerry was an unexpected windfall that was worth "about €3m" to the association.

In all, gate receipts for All-Ireland series games controlled by the GAA centrally came in at €18.2m for 2019, significantly up on the €12.7m taken in during 2018.

However, Ryan did sound a note of warning on the rising cost in preparing and fielding senior inter-county teams in particular:

The combined cost of preparing and fielding senior inter-county teams for the 32 counties came to €29.74 million in 2019. This was an increase of 11.6 per cent over the previous year, a trend that simply cannot continue.

There was also a note of caution expressed regarding the 2020 accounts which are expected to be down on 2019 due partly to the fact that there are no concerts currently booked in for Croke Park this summer.

Peter McKenna, the Croke Park stadium and GAA commercial director, said that the home of Gaelic Games is in a position to take concert bookings but noted that the Euro 2020 finals have impacted the number of major acts touring Europe.

"The bands are not travelling," said McKenna. "The big touring caravans as they were are not doing Europe because the 2020 Euros have sucked up so many cities. I mean it's not just in one venue, it's in 20 or 21 different cities.

The All-Ireland football final replay, an increase in ticket prices for Allianz League and Championship games, and a general spike in gate receipts all contributed to a bumper 2019 financial year for the GAA.

So that has taken the value of a European tour off the big bands. So yes, absolutely (we can host concerts), they are just not touring."

It was generally positive news though with the GAA's overall revenues - taking in Central Council, Croke Park Ltd, the insurance fund, injury fund, and other small companies/units - coming in at €118m, up 11 per cent on last year.

"GAA revenues for 2019 are at a record high," stated the GAA's financial report.

"A significant portion of this revenue was forecasted and planned for, based on the well received ticket price increases across our league and Championship campaigns.

"There was also the bonus of an All-Ireland football final replay along with an exceptionally strong performance from the Croke Park Stadium company which yielded a 31 per cent increase in its annual distribution back to CLG at €10.5m."

The headline figures put forward by the GAA for 2019 were that attendances grew by five per cent, 84 cent of every euro taken in was reinvested across the association and that there was a "record investment in games and player welfare of €23.1m".

Overall, this was described as a "stable and sound financial report for the year".

"The main thing, as you know, is to play and promote matches and get people playing, so on that front, I think it was a very positive year," said GAA Director General Tom Ryan.

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