Croke Park boxes clever with €8m boost in profit
A major boost in revenues from the GAA's own 'prawn sandwich brigade' contributed to operating profits at the firm that runs Croke Park almost doubling last year to €8m.
In a stellar year for the firm that operates the 82,000-seater stadium, accounts just lodged with the Companies Office show that revenues from the stadium's corporate clients increased by 10pc last year from €9.2m to €10.1m.
The figures for Pairc an Chrocaigh Teoranta & Subsidiaries show business from the corporate sector forms the bedrock of revenues for the stadium accounting for 43pc of the €23.7m in (stadium) income last year.
Operating profit at the stadium firm last year increased from €4.55m to €8m.
Revenues for the stadium and other related firms increased by 5pc last year from €31.5m to €33.1m and the continuing success of the stadium this year resulted in Stadium Director for Croke Park and GAA Commercial Director, Peter McKenna been named Marketeer of the Year.
The figures show that the group recorded pre-tax profits of €3m after it provided a €4m grant to the Ard Chomhairle of the GAA.
Pairc an Chrocaigh markets its 87 luxury suites at corporate level in Croke Park as "a place for entertaining and fine dining". The suites accommodate 12 to 36 guests with fantastic views of the pitch from the Hogan, Cusack and Davin stands.
Ireland's new assistant manager Roy Keane coined the term 'prawn sandwich brigade' in 2000, referring to Manchester United fans who receive corporate hospitality at Old Trafford.
Those enjoying corporate hospitality during big match days at Croke Park can enjoy a private en suite bar facility, plasma TV, a private fully furnished suite and a range of hospitality catering options.
Revenues from the corporate sector also include income from premium level tickets and these are currently priced at €4,000 for a three-year ticket; €6,500 for a five-year ticket and €12,000 for a 10-year ticket.
According to the directors' report, the boost in corporate business arose from "a successful renewal of the expiring Davin Stand premium seats combined with a successful launch of a new one-year premium seat ticket offering. Suite renewals were also very positive for 2012."
The stadium also increased its 'hire of facilities' revenues by 47pc last year from €3m to €4.4m that included the hire out of the stadium for three pop concerts: two Westlife gigs and one by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The IEC Eucharistic congress was also staged at the stadium during the year.
The directors' report states 27 championship and league matches were staged at Croke Park last year and the stadium firm received €7.83m in rent to stage those matches, including €6.59m from Central Council.
The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation or wear and tear charge of €6.84m and impairment charge of €1m on property.
Numbers directly employed by the group last year increased from 31 to 35 with staff costs totalling €1.97m. The directors state that the 2012 cost base remained at 2011 levels and "this is as a result of ongoing cost control and review measures constantly applied to all expenditure lines throughout the stadium".