A boost in revenues from the GAA’s “prawn sandwich brigade” contributed to operating profits at the firm that runs Croke Park almost doubling last year to €8m.
Accounts just lodged with the Companies Office show it was a stellar year for the firm that operates the 82,000-seater stadium, with revenues from Croke Park’s corporate clients increasing by 10% from €9.2m to €10.1m.
The figures for Páirc an Chrócaigh Teoranta & Subsidiary Companies& show that the business from the corporate sector forms the bedrock of revenues for the stadium, accounting for 43% of the €23.7m in stadium income last year.
Operating profit at the stadium firm increased from €4.55m to €8m last year.
Revenues for the stadium and other related firms increased by 5% last year from €31.5m to €33.1m and the continuing success of the stadium this year resulted in Stadium director for Croke Park and GAA commercial director, Peter McKenna, being named Marketer of the Year.
The figures show that the group recorded pre-tax profits of €3m after it provided a €4m grant to the Ard Chomhairle of the GAA.
Páirc an Chrócaigh markets its 87 luxury suites at corporate level in Croke Park as “a place for entertaining and fine dining”.
The suites accommodate 12 to 36 guests with fantastic views of the pitch from the Hogan, Cusack, and Davin stands.
Ireland’s new assistant manager, Roy Keane, coined the “prawn sandwich brigade” term in 2000 when referring to Manchester United fans who receive corporate hospitality at Old Trafford.
Those enjoying corporate hospitality during big match days at Croke Park can enjoy a private en-suite bar facility; plasma TV; a private fully-furnished suite, and a range of hospitality catering options.
Revenues from the corporate sector also include income from premium level tickets and these are currently priced at €4,000 for a three-year ticket; €6,500 for a five-year ticket and €12,000 for a 10-year ticket.
The stadium also increased its ‘hire of facilities’ revenues by 47% last year from €3m to €4.4m — that included the hire-out of the stadium for three concerts: two Westlife gigs and one by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The 50th International Eucharistic Congress was also staged at the stadium during the year.
The directors’ report states that 27 championship and league matches were staged at Croke Park last year and the stadium firm received €7.83m in rent to stage those matches, including €6.59m from the Central Council.
The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation or a wear and tear charge of €6.84m and an impairment charge of €1m on property.
Numbers directly employed by the group last year increased from 31 to 35 with staff costs totalling €1.97m.
The directors state that the 2012 cost base remained at 2011 levels and “this is as a result of ongoing cost control and review measures constantly applied to all expenditure lines throughout the stadium”.
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