Tipperary clubs have been told the GAA may introduce a loyalty tickets scheme for the organisation’s members.
Although Croke Park say there is nothing on the radar, Ballina and Killenaule were informed by the executive at the annual convention that Central Council could help clubs in their selling of All-Ireland championship tickets.
Ballina had called on the GAA to introduce “financial aid for clubs or discount for club members who purchase match tickets through various retail/online outlets”.
They explained that since supporters could purchase match-day tickets using these avenues, the numbers seeking tickets via the club had dropped. They added: “This motion is looking to encourage people to continue to join their club or else compensate clubs for lost revenue through lost membership.”
At the other end of the county, Killenaule proposed that a smaller allocation of tickets be given to SuperValu and Centra outlets “to ensure sufficient supply to paid-up members of clubs”.
As neither motion prompts a rule change, they wouldn’t have been discussed at next month’s Congress in February. However, the clubs were informed by the board’s executive that Central Council will soon green-light an initiative to benefit clubs in the distribution of tickets.
“We were informed that Central Council are looking at something in that form,” said Ballina secretary Gerard McKeogh. “The availability of tickets outside clubs has affected us in a number of ways. People weren’t so sure about purchasing tickets through their clubs, whether they might get better ones online or in the shops.
“Our membership would definitely have dropped. We would have staunch members who would still join but there would have been those who you suspected joined for All-Ireland semi-finals and finals that weren’t joining anymore.
“Had Tipperary got to the final, it would have been interesting because there wouldn’t have been any public sale of tickets. Would there have been a new flow of people trying to join? That would have been a real indicator.”
Based in Dublin, McKeogh is not against the online or retail sale of tickets. The GAA’s link-up with associate championship sponsors SuperValu and Centra is an award-winning one but there is an alternative, he argues.
“It’s very handy in Dublin to have them available online and in retail outlets but at the same time it does affect club membership. We all have SuperValu or Dunnes Stores fobs. A GAA loyalty card, something you could show so that if you’re a member you would get it cheaper than somebody who has never contributed to our club or any club, would be a great move.
“You see things like 3 (mobile operator) and what they have going with the 3Arena in Dublin where there is first refusal on tickets or something like that provided to members. It mightn’t have to come in under that style but it’s a suggestion.”
McKeogh feels the issue is more relevant in higher population areas. “With rural clubs, you’d still have the more loyal members anyway, but in semi-urban areas, like Ballina is becoming, and urban areas there is more of a tendency to look at other ways of purchasing tickets.”
Although it is not ticket-based, clubs such as Boyle in Roscommon have already organised loyalty schemes. Boyle have a deal in place with their local SuperValu whereby members retain loyalty points but the equivalent value of them also goes towards the club.
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