Tipperary GAA secretary Tim Floyd believes a roofed Semple Stadium would revolutionise it into a multipurpose venue.
Earlier this year it was confirmed planning permission had been granted for a multi-million development of the Thurles stadium’s Kinane Stand to include an extra tier for corporate hospitality facilities and a gym.
That plan has been put on hold due to the lockdown and Floyd is well aware that finance is a major stumbling block for any construction at this moment in time.
However, he considers a covered Semple Stadium would make it a highly attractive venue like Toronto’s SkyDome, now known as Rogers Centre, where Tipperary as 1989 All-Ireland champions played the All-Stars in an exhibition game in March 1990. The Newport man argues there is an excessive amount of open stadia in Munster.
“I presume having the power to change one thing would also give me the financial power. It would open up so many opportunities for the Field of Legends, especially if it was the only covered stadium in the country with a 50,000 capacity.
“Presently, we have too many open stadiums in the province and country with varying capacities. With the exception of Croke Park, many of these major sports stadia are struggling to make ends meet as they are only purpose-built for the playing of our games.
“There is not enough activity in these stadiums to attract sufficient crowds to justify the annual costs of maintenance so we need to look at alternative sources of revenue. Páirc an Chrócaigh Teoranta operates as an independent revenue stream for the GAA which really means the Croke Park building is run as a separate business.
“In 2019, it returned €10 million profit from concerts, conferences, the museum, bars, restaurants, corporate facilities, plus the rental income from the games. To run a similar operation in Semple Stadium, we need to offer something extra to attract interest and a covered 50,000-capacity stadium with all the modern facilities would open up new opportunities not available anywhere in the country.
“Semple Stadium could be the SkyDome of Ireland hosting major events without having to worry about hail, rain, frost, or snow. Who would have thought Noel C Duggan could host the Eurovision Song Contest in his Green Glens Arena Millstreet Co Cork in 1993? In the words of billionaire publisher Malcom Forbes, ‘When you cease to dream, you cease to live’.”