THE price of a stand ticket for an All-Ireland senior hurling or football final looks set to increase by over 15 per cent this year.
The GAA are expected to confirm a hike in ticket prices for All-Ireland series matches this week. The provincial councils are likely to follow with small increases in admission to their senior championship matches too.
It will be the first increase for All-Ireland series matches for three years and will still leave the price of a ticket to an All-Ireland final €10 cheaper than the current price of a stand seat at a rugby international in Croke Park.
Currently, a stand ticket to an All-Ireland final costs €60, but for the 2007 finals and beyond the GAA are looking to increase the price to €70.
A stand seat for Saturday’s Ireland-England rugby international in Croke Park will cost €80, while prices for the same seats at the forthcoming soccer internationals will be €70.
The GAA still feel that, in the current climate, €70 for an All-Ireland final represents good value.
Prices for qualifier games, All-Ireland quarter-finals and semi-finals are also expected to rise by at least €5.
The last price increase for games under the jurisdiction of the Central Council was prior to the 2004 season. In the intervening period, the price of access to rugby and soccer internationals has shot up.
But with a €2.2m euro windfall from the first rugby international against France already secured there will be an inevitable reaction to the proposed increase.
The All-Ireland final increase alone could see gate receipts for the two showpiece games in September rise by over €1m.
The increase in ticket prices comes as the cost of preparing inter-county teams across the board continues to soar.
An Irish Independent analysis of County Board accounts found that over €18m was devoted to preparation of all teams in 2006. If that rate of increase continues, 2007 could be the year that the €20m barrier is smashed.