At spon­sor re­newal

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport -

THE im­por­tance of spon­sor­ship to the Cork County GAA Board was em­phat­i­cally stressed by sec­re­tary Frank Mur­phy at the re­newal of the as­so­ci­a­tion with its main spon­sor, Chill In­sur­ance.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with John Hor­gan, Mr Mur­phy out­lined that im­por­tance and how sat­is­fied they are with their as­so­ci­a­tion with the in­sur­ance com­pany.

“We are an­nounc­ing the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Chill Spon­sor­ship, as you know they have been county spon­sors now for the last six years and they are ex­tend­ing it for two years with a right of re­newal at the end of that and we are de­lighted with that.

“They have been very gen­er­ous to our teams for the pe­riod of the spon­sor­ship. We have had very good spon­sors over the years and be­fore Chill we had Esat Digi­phone/O2 and be­fore that Barry’s Tea.

“Barry’s Tea led the way for us in that re­gard and I would have to pay trib­ute to Michael O’Sul­li­van the MD of Barry’s Tea at the time and the late Peter Barry was very sup­port­ive to the GAA in Cork.

“Even af­ter they had fin­ished their in­volve­ment as county spon­sors they still sup­ported the county very well.’’

Apart from the very gen­er­ous spon­sor­ship of Chill, Mr Mur­phy also sin­gled out the con­tri­bu­tion of oth­ers.

“We have other part­ners like O’Neill ’s with whom we have a gear con­tract and we have just com­pleted a four-year con­tract with them in re­la­tion to the sup­ply of gear and also replica jer­seys and mer­chan­dise.

“So that is in tan­dem with the Chill spon­sor­ship and we have a re­newed spon­sor­ship with Heineken which started last year as sup­port­ers of our se­nior teams, not our un­der­age.

“At the present time, we are also in­volved in ne­go­ti­a­tions with an­other part­ner in re­la­tion to our se­nior teams.

“So, over­all the com­bined spon­sor­ship is quite sig­nif­i­cant. It’s work­ing in at around the €700,000 mark and in­creas­ing next year to around three­quar­ters of a mil­lion per an­num.”

Queried on de­vel­op­ments re­gard­ing the nam­ing rights for the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the county sec­re­tary re­vealed that it was an on­go­ing process.

“There is work be­ing done in that field, pro­fes­sion­ally be­ing done. It’s as sim­ple as this, it’s easy enough to get a nam­ing rights spon­sor but it is how much are they pre­pared to pay.

“Cer­tainly we would not be pre- pared to have it go as an ad­den­dum to the name of Páirc Uí Chaoimh if the fi­nance was not sub­stan­tial.

“So it is an on­go­ing process and it’s be­ing worked on pro­fes­sion­ally in that area.’’

Mr Mur­phy went on to re­veal that the fi­nan­cial de­mands on the county board in its prepa­ra­tion of teams con­tin­ues to rise all the time.

“Spon­sor­ship is vi­tal and you would be aware that our costs at in­ter-county level last year was €1.75m.

“And it must be borne in mind that is essen­tially a cost in terms of essen­tially ex­penses mainly and also of course med­i­cal ex­penses, treat­ment for our play­ers and other fa­cil­i­ties that are pro­vided.

“But it is im­por­tant to stress that our man­agers, se­lec­tors, our coaches, doc­tors, are only on ex­penses, they are not paid any fee.

“You do have the phys­ios and other pro­fes­sional con­sul­tants who have a fee and that is ne­go­ti­ated with them. Essen­tially we main­tain an ama­teur po­si­tion in re­la­tion to our team man­age­ments.”

He stressed too that the gen­eral pub­lic might have a false pic­ture of where the sub­stan­tial monies that are gen­er­ated by the as­so­ci­a­tion go.

“Very of­ten peo­ple think about the fact that the mil­lions that are made at Mun­ster cham­pi­onships and the Al­lIre­land se­ries but a county does not re­ceive any per­cent­age of the gate re­ceipts of the game it plays in.

“You are paid trav­el­ling ex­penses and meal ex­penses or if it was a dis­tance away where you’d get an overnight.

“In ef­fect, the al­lowances that are paid by Cen­tral Coun­cil and Mun­ster Coun­cil don’t ac­tu­ally meet the ac­tual cost on the day of ho­tel ex­penses.

“An ex­am­ple, we had a good year in 2017 in terms of our se­nior hurlers be­ing in the All-Ire­land semi-fi­nal, our mi­nor team in the fi­nal and our un­der-17s win­ning the All -Ire­land.

“Yet our to­tal in­ter-county ex­penses and grants from Cen­tral Coun­cil for the year amounted to only €71,000.

“In the case of Mun­ster, it was €72,000. Now, al­beit, coun­ties do get an al­lowance, last year in our case it was €175,000 in re­spect of gear, se­nior cham­pi­onship spon­sor­ship, me­dia rights but if you com­bine all of that and you do get a per­cent­age of the na­tional league games that you play.

“The league amounted to €152, 000 last year which was equiv­a­lent to what we re­ceived by way of ex­penses and grants from cham­pi­onship games.

“So com­bin­ing the na­tional league and com­bin­ing the ex­penses and the grant that was made to the county for the cham­pi­onship and gear and me­dia rights, the to­tal was about €470,000 as against an ex­pen­di­ture of €1.75m.

“In that area it is so cru­cial that you have good spon­sor­ship and as I said that should be in the re­gion 700, 750,000 but there is still a gap of nearly 500,00 there.”

Mr Mur­phy out­lined that the re­ceipts from county cham­pi­onship games were very en­cour­ag­ing.

“You could say that they were ex­cep­tional, the high­est by far in the coun­try. Last year we were close on €1.2 mil­lion and that is a great deal of credit to our sup­port­ers to pro­vide that type of rev­enue.

”We haven’t re­ally in­creased our prices for cham­pi­onship games for 12 years but we are mak­ing some ad­just­ments for the con­clud­ing stages now.

“There is an in­struc­tion from Cen­tral Coun­cil to all coun­ties now that there are min­i­mum charges now for county fi­nals and we have made ad­just­ments but we haven’t done so for 12 years.

“Nonethe­less, it is fair to say that we are, by far, the most suc­cess­ful county in terms of our county cham­pi­onships.”

He also went on to out­line how im­por­tant the county board draw was to the as­so­ci­a­tion in Cork.

“Our draw com­mit­tee un­der Pearse Mur­phy gen­er­ated some­thing in the re­gion of a net profit of a quar­ter of a mil­lion a year. Over the time of that draw, the clubs have ben­e­fited to the tune of €20m and the board six mil­lion and the board pays for all the draw ex­penses and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“It’s now run by a vol­un­tary com­mit­tee un­der Pearse and they are do­ing a fan­tas­tic job and again a great deal of thanks to our sup­port­ers for their gen­eros­ity in main­tain­ing one of the most suc­cess­ful ven­tures in the coun­try.

“We still main­tain a 16,000-plus mem­ber­ship which is huge.

“There is an aw­ful lot of money too be­ing put in to our coach­ing and de­vel­op­ment squads and games de­vel­op­ment gen­er­ally.

“In the last two years it has al­most been nearly a mil­lion and it is climb­ing.

“That has to be fi­nanced and we use the money that we get from the draw and money from our county cham­pi­onships to try and meet the debt that arises from the ex­pen­di­ture on in­ter-county be­cause the in­ter­county rev­enue does not meet all the com­mit­ments that are there.

“It is a chal­lenge un­doubt­edly but it again puts into per­spec­tive the im­por­tance of good spon­sors and we again ex­press our ap­pre­ci­a­tion to Chill for their de­ci­sion to con­tinue.’’

The con­struc­tion of the new sta­dium is some­thing that he is im­mensely proud of too. “Un­doubt­edly, we did man­age to raise very sub­stan­tial money there is still money to be paid off and that is be­ing dealt with sep­a­rately from the county board.

“Hope­fully, the sta­dium will be in a po­si­tion to gen­er­ate funds that can be put back into the county in terms of pro­mo­tion of the games. That is ul­ti­mately the ob­jec­tive but not un­til such time as the sta­dium gets on its feet and widely used.

“We had three very suc­cess­ful con­certs there this year and we have one com­ing up with Rod Ste­wart next year.

“As of now and it was con­tracted on the ba­sis of one day but we are ac­tively in ne­go­ti­a­tion for fur­ther con­certs in 2019 and we are an­tic­i­pat­ing that we will be suc­cess­ful.’

’ He was op­ti­mistic too on the play­ing front where the county is con­cerned on the hurl­ing front.

“We are mov­ing in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion un­doubt­edly and I think there is po­ten­tial with the hurl­ing panel with the younger play­ers com­ing through.

“We were un­for­tu­nate with some in­juries to key play­ers last year that were detri­men­tal and if we get a clean bill of health I think we’ll chal­lenge very se­ri­ously for All-Ire­land honours.

“I be­lieve next sea­son can be pro­duc­tive and we feel the ma­te­rial that is com­ing through, we should have a very good mi­nor team next year and our un­der-20s will be the mi­nor team that was in the All-Ire­land fi­nal against Gal­way. The plat­form is there, yes.’’

Cork County Board sec­re­tary Frank Mur­phy says in­ter-county level costs were €1.75m last year.

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