Just when it seemed the GAA’s spending on preparing inter-county teams was going to surpass the €30m mark in 2020, along comes the coronavirus to put a stop to it.
Like all others, the organisation’s accounts for the year are going to be nothing like 2019 when gate receipts topped €36m and income almost €74m.
With fewer games almost a certainty a club level too, county boards simply won’t be in a position to bring in as much as what they did before.
But on the other side of the ledger there will be savings across the board. Remember Kevin McStay admitting in 2017 that he would struggle to cut the €15,000 a week it was costing to run the Roscommon football team?
His successor Anthony Cunningham doesn’t have that problem right now.
Here are 10 areas where the belts are being tightened across the GAA:
Heat, light, and power
With no need to be providing any of the above, county boards and clubs are not spending therefore saving. In 2019, it cost almost €1m to keep the heat and electricity on in Croke Park.
Tipperary’s trip to Spain earlier this month was the last an inter-county team will be making for some time to come. Hotels are being used more and more by panels even within their own boundaries for games. When GAA director general Tom Ryan pulled down the shutters last Thursday week, county boards were straight away cancelling overnight stays before the remaining league games.
Costing as much as €10,000 per game, a night in a hotel for a panel is a pretty penny.
With no games being played at the moment and clubhouses locked and grounds closed, the premiums being paid for property insurance will hopefully be scaled down on a pro-rata basis.
Likewise, as no players are training or playing there shouldn’t be as much contributed to the player insurance scheme. The cost of the insurance and injury funds was €14.953m last year with premiums paid to the GAA coming to €12.958m.
In 2019, the GAA spent almost €2m on marketing. Does anyone believe they will need to hand over anything close to that to promote the action when it returns?
Matchday running costs
No games means no need for marshalling of crowds in or outside stadia. No rent for the hosting counties for Central Council games (All-Ireland matches, Allianz Leagues) either but at least it’s money the GAA at central level can keep in their pocket.
In 2019, Central Council’s matchday running costs jumped by 18% to €12.8m, which equated to 35% of gate receipts. Fewer games would bring mostly bad news but as the GAA regularly point out, the majority of them are not profitable.
As part of the last GAA-GPA agreement, players received an increased mileage rate from 50 cents to between 62.5c and 65c per mile.
With collective training and games suspended, the fund, which had a maximum of €1.5m per annum, has not been touched in the last two weeks and is unlikely to be again until May at the earliest.
In terms of team expenses and payments, the GAA at central level last year provided €8m to counties.
As part of that agreement which has rolled over to this year in the absence of a new deal, inter-county players are entitled to up to €1.2m in vouched nutrition expenses.
It’s one area county footballers and hurlers need to maintain so the savings wouldn’t be as big as elsewhere.
That being said, counties are not having to provide for meals post-training and games. Catering can cost around €500 per training session with meals in hotels extra.
As much as the GAA fields of Ireland still require mowing and care, the lack of footfall will certainly cut down on what is spent on their upkeep. Last year, Dublin forked out €368,615 to maintain their grounds.
O’Neills are back up and running manufacturing antibacterial masks this week but they were forced to shut down on the basis of a major drop in demand. Jerseys are not being ordered.
Nor are sliotars, footballs, and other equipment. In 2019, Tipperary teams received €232,181 worth of sports gear.
Physios and masseuses, like so many others, are feeling the pinch right now and those working with county and club teams are sure to be impacted by the social distancing guidelines never mind the Gaelic games cessation.
Medical costs should also be down considerably. Bear in mind, the Kerry teams’ physio and medical bills for 2019 came to €206,733.
Sports psychologists, though, will remain in demand as they are sure have their work cut out.