Halt of Phase 4 will hit county boards' gate receipts

July 16, 2020

Fans get their tickets ahead of the McKenna Cup clash between Tyrone and UUJ at Park Colmcille, Carrickmore.
©INPHO/Presseye/Andrew Paton.

The Irish government’s decision to halt entry to Phase 4 of the Covid-19 roadmap could have a hugely detrimental effect on the finances of GAA county boards across the land.

The guidelines state that no more than 200 people can attend outdoor gatherings between now and August 10. With local club football and hurling championships throwing in this month, the decision means that a major money-spinner for county boards will be severely restricted in the short term at least.

Many county boards are hugely dependent on gate receipts from local championship matches in order to balance the books.

Increasing pressure is the fact that from November through to summer is the peak time for county board expenditure, much of which is taken up with the running of various county teams. Local gate receipts come in from August through till October and are essential to ensure cash flow does not become a major concern.

With championship games starting in a number of counties this weekend, the reduction in supporters’ numbers will hit boards hard.

County boards expected that they could facilitate crowds of 500 from July 20 but that is now not the case. A championship fixture for the weekend of 24/25/26 July will now have 300 less spectators that previously planned for.

At an average of €10 per head admittance, that is a potential €3,000 loss per game in income for a game that a county board expects a high attendance at. When you allow for one of the larger counties running perhaps 20 championship games per weekend between senior, intermediate and junior, the loss in revenue grows massively

At central level, the GAA took in approximately €36 million from gate receipts in 2019, an increase of 22%.

However, the association are now faced with possibly running championships behind closed doors, with Commercial Director Peter McKenna not ruling out playing inter-county championship matches behind closed doors this year.

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