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GAA could earn extra €10m if league-based football championship is voted in at Special Congress

The projection by financial analyst and former Meath minor manager Conor O’Donoghue does not take into account additional TV revenue or sponsorship.

A view of Croke Park.
A view of Croke Park.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE GAA WOULD potentially earn an additional €10m in gate receipts alone if ‘Proposal B’ is voted into fruition at Special Congress later this month.

Delegates will meet at Croke Park on 23 October where they will be asked to vote for one of two proposed new football championship structures, with at least a 60-40 majority required for either Proposal A or Proposal B to replace the Super 8 format from next year.

Proposal A would see a redrawing of the provincial maps, with four conferences consisting of eight teams each. Meanwhile, the GPA-backed Proposal B would see the summer championship adopt a league format before splitting into Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cups, depending on league position. The league rounds would replace the existing provincial championships, but a new provincial round-robin competition would take place between January and April instead of the conventional pre-season and National Leagues. The league-based championship format and its provincial pre-season would guarantee every county at least 11 games per year.

Under this Proposal B, the senior inter-county calendar would consist of 216 games — 34 more than the Super 8 format and 39 more than a qualifier-Tailteann Cup. Its proposed spring provincial leagues would see 81 matches played rather than 27 in the current provincial championship format.

And a report by former Meath minor football manager Conor O’Donoghue, a member of the national calendar fixtures task-force who runs a financial services company, has outlined the likelihood that Proposal B and its additional games would potentially be worth €10m to the GAA.

O’Donoghue forecasts that, firstly, almost €8m in additional revenue would be accrued by Central Council through the extra fixtures that would fall under its remit; and that secondly, a January-to-April provincial competition would be worth €2m more to the provinces than existing structures. (The four provincial councils are, however, understood to be majorly opposed to Proposal B due to what they perceive to be the dilution of the provincial championships).

O’Donoghue based his analysis on the two Super 8 seasons pre-Covid.

The St Peter’s Dunboyne man told Off The Ball this morning: “The fact that you’re multiplying the number of games by three or thereabouts, it gives you much more scope to take in revenue.

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“We’re talking about 65% additional revenue versus their three-year average in the few years before Covid.

“For me, the numbers of games here is going be your friend from a financial perspective.”

More televised fixtures would also naturally be lucrative for the Association, O’Donoghue said, but he did not project how TV or sponsorship revenue would increase with additional games. By his estimate, the GAA currently earn approximately €19 per annum through broadcast agreements and sponsorship.

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