The GAA, Ladies Football and Camogie Associations went into the weekend buoyed by the news that €15 million in funding from the Government was to be made available to offset the loss of match revenue from staging games in each of this year’s Championships in front of limited supporters.
The money will be distributed based on the previous year’s attendances which would suggest that well over 90 per cent will go to the GAA and Ladies Football and Camogie splitting on what might be a 2:1 basis.
That would be based on average attendances at the three most recent Finals days in the two smaller codes of 50,847 and 22,211 respectively.
Attendance at earlier rounds of both has been an issue with smaller crowds than might have been hoped for but the numbers rising in line with greater levels of promotion, awareness, sponsorship and media coverage.
It might just be too soon in terms of using those as a cold hard method of calculating the respective popularity of the games.
In comparison, the total attendance across the All Ireland Men’s Football and Hurling Championships in 2019 was 897,975. The income from gate receipts was €36.2 million representing 48 per cent of total income.
The average matchday costs across the GAA was reported in 2019 as €57,000.
“I am delighted to announce additional Government funding of €15 million to support the 2020 Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie Championships,” said Minister Catherine Martin making the announcement on Friday.
“This has been a challenging year for all sports and I have heard first-hand the impact the loss of ticketing and matchday revenue has had on the Gaelic games associations. It is important to recognise that the reduction in ticketing revenue is not confined to men’s sport.”
“We are immensely proud of the record-breaking attendances at recent women’s All-Ireland Finals in ladies Gaelic football and camogie. Regrettably, 2020 will not see the finals played off in front of huge crowds at Croke Park, but work is underway to provide for a safe return of spectators at national sporting events. Regardless of the size of the crowd, I am sure that for the players, coaches and supporters the All-Ireland Finals will be no less meaningful.”
Minister of State Jack Chambers welcomed the announcement on Friday saying
“The impact of Covid has been felt by all sports organisations and particularly those which depend on the income generated by match tickets. The prospect of there being no GAA, ladies football or camogie championships this year has been a very real one up until now.”
“Dealing with the pandemic has caused such hardship for people right across the country. Everyone is need of a lift and I know people seeing their team line out in the country colours, with Amhrán na Bhfiann playing overhead, will give so many people a much-needed boost in these difficult times.”
“The funding will help address the income shortfall the organisations will experience due to lost income from match tickets.”
“t’s a really positive day for sport and for our national games and like so many people I’m looking forward to the All-Ireland championships getting underway.”
This money is over and above the €40 million that the GAA, IRFU and FAI will share from the €70 million Sports recovery Fund announced earlier in the summer.
It is a positive step alongside the sense that most games will be live-streamed, as has been the case with many Club Championships in recent weeks, so holding out the hope that the games will be seen by a fair proportion of those who might have done so, albeit on screens as opposed to in the flesh.