GAA finance department dismiss claim ‘Proposal B’ is the lucrative option for championship reform

The GAA’s finance department have dismissed the claim that the League as Championship football proposal will be more financially lucrative for the organisation.

County treasurers were informed by GAA director of finance Ger Mulryan on Thursday night that Croke Park project a football season featuring pre-2018 qualifier system would actually reap more gate receipts than either the All-Ireland SFC League or the four eight-team provincial conferences.

Highlighting the differences between the three systems are relatively insignificant and stressing there was no favoured structure, it was the finance department’s estimate that a senior football season featuring the backdoor and Tailteann Cup would bring in a net €19.6m.

They see Proposal A featuring the provincial conferences earning €19.3m and the All-Ireland SFC League €18.8m, which would be a loss on the Super 8 season of 2019 and nothing close to the analysis that Proposal B could earn the GAA more than €10m in gate receipts.

That review put forward by calendar review taskforce member Conor O’Donoghue was considered to be inflated. His use of the average attendance of Super 8 games in 2018 and ’19 as 18,500 was criticised when average league attendances in Division 1 of 8,000 to 9,000 were considered as a more realistic metric in modelling the All-Ireland SFC League in summer. His numbers not reflecting juvenile and other concessions were also highlighted.

While Croke Park envisage attendances for an All-Ireland SFC League increasing championship attendances by 20% largely due to the extra number of games, they would not see increased gate revenue.

The finance department believe the provincial leagues, were they to be introduced for next year, would reap around a net €5.1m. Otherwise, they would see it earning €10.5m for Central Council games (All-Ireland preliminary quarter-finals onwards and Tailteann Cup) and €3.2m for the league championship stages.

The finance department project the All-Ireland SFC as last seen in 2017 with the addition of the Tailteann Cup would see the league bringing in €3.4m as was the case in 2019, €4.9m from the provincial championships with the All-Ireland series and Tailteann Cup providing €11m.

With the current Allianz League system and status also being retained under the four eight-team provincial conferences option, the estimated €3.4m would also be gained with the remainder coming from the provinces (€4.9m) and the All-Ireland series and Tailteann Cup (€10.7m).