RTÉ’s Open for Business show turns its eye on sport this evening with an in-depth look at the impact which Covid has had across a number of different areas.

The show, hosted by Richard Curran and Ella McSweeney will be broadcast on RTÉ One at 7 pm this evening and will feature contributions from Ciaran Gallagher of Gymnastics Ireland, Daniel Lambert from Bohemian FC, Mary O’Connor from the Federation of Irish Sport and members of Elphin and Tulsk GAA Clubs.

Sports clubs across the country in 2020 lost almost all of the income they normally generate themselves. Before, Covid-19, GAA clubs kept themselves going from matchday sales, sponsorship and fundraising events. Many raffles relied on local pubs to sell tickets, but with all of their face to face events cancelled overnight last year, GAA clubs had to look at different ways to fundraise.

Tulsk GAA club in Roscommon had already started to move online, before the pandemic, everything from meeting to training and membership subscriptions went online, but they never realised what a great revenue stream it would be until Covid-19 hit.

Before 2020, one of Elphin’s big income earners was their sponsorship draw which saw local businesses pay into a raffle with the possibility of having their name on the front of a jersey. This didn’t happen last year. With costs of anything between 80, to 100,000 euro to run the club, they decided to run different fundraisers, including one called “Win a heifer of a heap of cash”. This draw proved hugely successful and generated much interest and much needed funds.

What makes Bohemian FC so different compared to other clubs is that it is owned by its members. And despite the pandemic, the club’s membership doubled in 2020.

Daniel Lambert speaks about how keeping their members engaged in its online activity and the club’s commitments to charitable causes is what has attracted new fans. And with the new Watch LOI streaming service available, members and season ticket holders can still watch the games they want. But as with other clubs Boh’s was also hit by the loss of matchday income, and the loss of revenue from bars, cafes and catering.

Gymnastics Ireland’s membership amounts to 75 per cent of their self-generated revenue and with this wiped out in 2020 their clubs have taken a huge financial hit. The organisation estimates that about 10-12 million euro has been lost in revenue.

It may not dive too deep but it will bring the story of how sport operates financially away from the bright spotlights and the TV cameras and will be well worth a watch.


RTÉ, Gymnastics Ireland and Bohemian FC are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.


Sport for Business Partners