Stellar line-up fails to boost Aviva Stadium profitability

The return of top-drawer concerts and the Irish soccer team’s momentous qualifying campaign for last summer’s European Championships weren’t enough to boost profits at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium last year.

Around 600,000 flocked to the former Lansdowne Road stadium last year to see 16 events. Newly-filed accounts for the stadium’s operating company New Stadium Designated Activity Company show it generated operating profits of nearly €3.6m for the year, but this was down by 21.5% on the €4.5m generated in 2014.

Despite rock band AC/DC’s July gig heralding a return of the big-name concert to the Aviva following a barren 2014, and exciting matches on the road to the Euros — such as the 1-0 win over Germany in October — the drop in profits was due to there being four less events at the venue than in the previous year and overall combined attendances being down by around 50,000 as a result.

The Rugby World Cup also meant there were no traditionally lucrative autumn rugby internationals last year.

Allowing for the fall-off in regular activity, the company’s directors said the business traded in line with expectations last year.

Six rugby internationals were held at the Aviva last year — covering the Six Nations Championship and World Cup warm-up games — compared with 10 the previous year.

The stadium also hosted a European Rugby Champions Cup (formerly the Heineken Cup) match between Leinster and Toulon in December, as well as the FAI Cup Final and the Women’s Senior Cup Final.

The accounts do not disclose the company’s revenues for the year, but do show a pre-tax loss of €3.3m — explained by non-cash depreciation charges of €10m. The firm’s net assets totalled €171.9m at the end of December and the book value of the stadium amounted to €350.5m.

On the company’s future developments, the directors state, in the accounts “the stadium has demonstrated great flexibility in coping with a busy schedule in 2015. The stadium company is committed to attracting and delivering high-quality sporting and non-sporting events…as well as maintaining a world-class facility.”

The company’s cash during the year increased from €2.4m to €3.9m. Numbers employed by the stadium company decreased from 27 to 24 with staff costs reduced from €1.3m to €1.26m.

The accounts disclose the IRFU last year received €750,000 in lease payments from the company for the stadium land. John Delaney and Philip Browne — the respective heads of the FAI and IRFU — have signed off on the accounts.


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