Replay reduction is just the ticket
WHATEVER ABOUT driving up demand, the reduction in ticket prices for the All-Ireland hurling final replay will still drive up revenue – even if the GAA themselves are viewing it along purely altruistic lines.
In reducing stand prices from €80 to €50, and terrace prices from €40 to €25, admission to the Galway-Kilkenny replay on September 30th will be almost 40 per cent cheaper – or 37.5 per cent, to be exact – than Sunday’s original fixture: with All-Ireland finals typically generating around €5 million in revenue, the GAA will thus pocket around €1.8m less than if it had stuck to original ticket prices.
“It was a unanimous decision, across the board, and was made with no hesitation,” explained Feargal McGill, the GAA’s director of games administration and player welfare.
“But there was only one motivation in mind. We’ve had a tremendous year, with tremendous loyalty from all our supporters, across the country, and this was the chance, the gilded opportunity, to say thanks. The very scale of the reduction, we hope, shows people just how much we do genuinely appreciate their ongoing support, in ongoing difficult times.”
GAA president Liam O’Neill had hinted in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s game – the first All-Ireland hurling final draw in 53 years – that ticket prices for the replay would be carefully reconsidered, in consultation with director general Páraic Duffy, and other senior GAA officials.
“But it had been flagged among ourselves, from way back, that if we were ever presented with this situation, it would be the ideal opportunity to make that gesture, to our own people,” added McGill. “Of course this is extra income, that we wouldn’t have budgeted in for 2012, and we’re thankful for that too, but overall I think there will be a very positive reaction.”
Demand for the replay will likely be as high as the original fixture, although in reducing ticket prices, the GAA will help ensure another virtual capacity: “That genuinely wasn’t a motivation,” according to McGill. “It will probably be a happy by-product of doing what we’ve done, but the only motivation here was the gesture to our supporters.
“Everyone says the GAA is always thrilled when we get a replay, and of course it does always generate that extra bit of income, but it creates that extra administration too, so not everyone greets it with excitement. But no one minds, either, obviously.”
September 30th will also retain similar ticket demand by the very fact the minor final also went to replay, with Dublin and Tipperary meeting again in the traditional curtain raiser – again with a 1.15 start. The senior final replay will likewise retain the throw-in time of 3.30, even though extra-time will be played in the event of a draw – and if the sides are still level after that then it will go to a second replay.
Both the senior competing counties typically get a minimum allocation of 12,000 tickets each (7,000 stand, 5,000 terrace), with smaller allocations for the two minor competing counties, but the GAA expects that the overall allocation of the 82,300 tickets will be similar to the original distribution (see panel), with some adjustments: the GAA has already stated its intention to make available extra juvenile tickets, costing just €10, within the usual designated areas in the stadium, and expects to release in excess of 5,000 such tickets.