GAA usage boosts Hawk-Eye revenues

International business — including its contract with the GAA — has been credited for a 43% jump in annual revenues for Hawk-Eye Innovations, the company whose technology is used to decide questionable calls in top sporting events.

Newly filed accounts for the UK-based company —which is now owned by Japanese electronics giant Sony — show that revenues jumped to £17m (€19m) last year. There was, however, a marginal drop in pre-tax profits to £4.32m.

The accounts show that international revenues increased by 50% — from £9.4m to £14m — while revenues in the UK increased by 24% to £3.7m.

First used as a broadcast tool to analyse decisions in cricket, Hawk-Eye has now become an integral part of more than 20 sports and every year covers 7,200 games or events across more than 450 stadiums in over 65 countries.

The technology has long enjoyed a high public profile via its ball-tracking technology for tennis. Along with the GAA — which brought in the technology at Croke Park in 2013 — Hawk-Eye is used in the Premier League in England, Serie A in Italy, and the German Bundesliga.

At Croke Park, Hawk-Eye has been used in 36 matches and has been called into action 19 times — 11 times in football and eight in hurling. This year, the GAA’s use of the technology extended to Semple Stadium.

According to a GAA spokesperson: “Hawk-Eye is now a valued and integral part of our match day officiating system at Croke Park and has helped our match officials in making the most accurate calls possible as part of the process involved in recording scores.”

They added that Hawk-Eye’s further use would be under consideration by the working groups involved in new stadium builds. 

At Croke Park, the technology involves eight high-speed cameras with the ball position triangulated using four cameras covering each end of the stadium.

According to its accounts, Hawk-Eye Innovations’ gross margin profit reduced from 68% to 58% last year. According to the directors, they are satisfied that this is a result of new, high profile and long-term profitable business developments. 

The directors stated that they anticipate that the company will continue to trade profitably in the coming year.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of £2.2m while the numbers employed by the company increased from 88 to 133.

This resulted in staff costs increasing from £3.1m to £3.9m.

Accumulated profits totalled £12m at the end of 2015, while its cash pile reduced from £2.49m to £1m.


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