GAA fixtures generate €220m for economy before sponsorship and merchandising
Gaelic Players’ Association outlines economic benefits of our national game
Former Kildare footballer Dermot Earley: he said the €220 million figure was conservative given the growth in attendances. Photograph: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile
Inter-county GAA fixtures generate more than €220 million for the economy each year even before sponsorship, merchandising and TV advertising is taken into account, according to the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA).
The GPA’s estimate is based on a 2010 report by consultancy Indecon, which assessed the economic impact of the sport, and a subsequent 15 per cent jump in gate receipts during the intervening period.
The report was originally commissioned as part of a campaign to shield Gaelic games from government cutbacks being introduced on foot of the State’s bailout programme.
At an event hosted by the Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants in Croke Park, former Kildare footballer Dermot Earley said the €220 million figure was conservative given the growth in attendances.
The GAA’s two flagship summer competitions typically generate the lion’s share of gate receipts. With the 2015 summer season now nearly over, overall attendance is expected to eclipse 1.3 million.
However, Mr Earley said unlike their professional counterparts, the players involved had normal work lives off the field, and this often placed undue demands and pressures on players.
“Preparing and performing on a par with professional sportspeople while pursuing off-field careers can be extremely difficult,” he said.
He said the GPA’s player development programme, which now aids up to 1,300 players, was designed to support this difficult sport-life balance.
“The programme is tailored to meet the specific needs of individual players to help them chart and pursue a successful career off the field,” Mr Earley aid.
However, it also provided several supports, including a counselling service for those in difficulty, noting the pressure of inter-county games had driven many players into alcoholism and chronic gambling.