For four years; the GAA charged the FAI and IRFU €1.5million rent per match to host international matches at Croke Park.
This boosted GAA coffers by an average €8million per year for those four years (2006-2010). Those days are forever gone now and Croke Park is feeling the pinch. The loss to the GAA is starkly illustrated in Croke Park’s accounts for 2011, which show a reduction of €4m on the previous year under the ‘hire of facilities’ heading. That relates directly to the absence of international fixtures last year, unlike 2010, when Ireland’s home fixtures in the Six Nations were played there.
Before 2010 (when AVIVA Stadium opened); Croke Park had hosted all major Irish soccer and rugby internationals, with Jones’ Road coffers swelling by almost €40million thanks to the rental incomes earned from those matches from 2007 – ’10.
The reduced income was partly due to the €5 cut in ticket prices for Championship games up to the finals. Also, Dublin’s presence in the 2010 All-Ireland qualifiers led to increased attendances, whereas last year they advanced to the All-Ireland final via the direct route.
Croke Park remains popular for concerts, which helped yield €3million for the Take That shows last year. Westlife and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers will play at the Jones Road venue this year.
Speaking at the announcement of accounts for 2011; Croke Park Stadium Director Peter McKenna mused: “The decrease in revenue is fully attributable to our first full year without the rental income benefits from other sports played in the stadium and demonstrates that our core business activities remain steady, despite unprecedented economic turbulence. Renting the stadium for rugby and soccer flushed our accounts for a few years. That money was ring-fenced for special projects.”