FAI to offer 10-year tickets for €5,000 in bid to help clear stadium debt
Price structure for premium tickets peaked at €32,000 when Aviva Stadium opened
Businessman Denis O’Brien became the first honorary life president of the Football Association of Ireland at its annual general meeting in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on Saturday. He was presented with the award by outgoing FAI president Tony Fitzgerald and FAI chief executive John Delaney. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
The best premium seats inside the Aviva Stadium will be available to purchase on a 10-year basis for just €5,000, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have confirmed.
Misjudging the corporate market with their original offering when the redeveloped stadium opened in 2010 cost the FAI badly, as the plan to meet their €74 million contribution towards the building outlay with this projected revenue nosedived.
John Delaney, as the association’s chief executive, had been instrumental in setting the price structure, peaking with tickets for €32,000, and earlier this week finally admitted errors were made in this regard. The repercussions of the mistake are still being felt across various segments of the Irish game.
At today’s annual general meeting in Cork, where the FAI pledged to wipe their borrowings of €34 million by the end of 2020, financial controller Eamon Breen predicted strong interest in the new scheme, an extension of the Club Ireland programme unveiled in 2014.
Offloading the 10-year tickets, at just 15 per cent of the Vantage Club prices, is the priority as the FAI looks to cash in but there are alternatives to pay €3,000 for the five-year version and €2,000 on a three-year deal.
“As the economy has improved, corporate hospitality spending is increasing,” explained Breen. “We’re creating the atmosphere for building commercial partnerships into the future.”
It is also the growth of football in Europe which is indirectly helping the FAI’s cashflow. Almost a third of their €49 million in turnover during 2017 came from Uefa, be it the €10 million centralised television rights deal or grants which included the hat-trick fund for infrastructural projects such as the Aviva Stadium.
Delaney confirmed what he had indicated on Thursday that 2020 remains the date at which point debt-free status will be achieved.
He insisted this mission would be accomplished without imposing the type of cutbacks prevalent in the FAI since their financial challenges began in 2010.
“There will be no compromise here,” vowed Delaney. “I’d like to make it very clear that our investment in the game will continue at pace.”
Businessman Denis O’Brien was in Cork for the agm as he became the first honorary life-president of the FAI.
O’Brien’s decade-long bankrolling of the salaries of Ireland’s senior management has topped the €12.5 million mark.
Into Conway’s place as vice-president comes Noel Fitzroy, a stalwart of the junior football circuit in Dublin.