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.
“We’ll get more details on that in the coming days, and it is already a very busy time for the ticket office, preparing for an All-Ireland football final.
“As for the corporate and sponsorship and other allocated tickets, most of those would be long term. If you take the premium level, the corporate boxes, people have bought those already. We don’t get anything extra from those by creating a replay, so that’s 12,000 or so seats that people are just getting added benefit from. We don’t get any extra income from those.”
McGill also explained the slight shortfall in Sunday’s attendance – the 81,932 that actually showed up being 368 less than Croke Park’s official capacity of 82,300: “It happens every single year, to varying degrees, but you very rarely end up with exactly 82,300 in the stadium, for multitudes of reasons, between people just not making it on the day, to losing tickets, to people trying to get in on children’s tickets that are turned back.”
Match officials for both replays will be confirmed later in the week – although neither of the referees that took charge for last Sunday (Barry Kelly in the senior match, and Colm Lyons in the minor match) will be on duty again, as under GAA policy, a new referee is always appointed for a replay.
Odds of 125/1 are now being offered that both the senior and minor finals will go to extra-time (the odds of both Sunday’s finals going to a replay were 155/1). Kilkenny are still favourites to win the replay, but Galway’s odds are cut from 11/4 to 2/1.
What is more certain is that Henry Shefflin, who scored 0-12 on Sunday, will finish the season on top of the scoring table for 2012, after overtaking Shane Dowling of Limerick in Sunday’s draw: Shefflin (with 3-47) is now seven points clear of Dowling (with his 4-37) with Galway’s Joe Canning, who scored 1-9 on Sunday, back in third place, nine points behind the Kilkenny man, with his 2-41.
Finally, although presumably not to tempt fate, the GAA also confirmed yesterday that the All-Ireland football final between Donegal and Mayo, on Sunday week, would be replayed on Sunday, October 6th, if necessary.How ticket prices compare
HURLING FINAL REPLAY
Stand €50 (down from €80) and Terrace €25 (down from €40).
FAI WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
Ireland v Germany, Aviva Stadium, October 12th –
Stand Premium: €100
Stand Lower: €50-€60
Stand Upper: €35-€50
IRFU AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS
Ireland v South Africa, Aviva Stadium, November 10th –
Stand Premium: €95
Ireland v Argentina, Aviva Stadium, November 24th –
Stand Premium: €75
2013 HEINEKEN CUP FINAL
Aviva Stadium, May 18th, 2013 –