Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Tickets and the GAA

How interesting to note on HoganStand.com that the GAA have been shooting themselves in the feet once again as regards their bizarre system of ticket allocation.

The situation is that, because "word went out" that last weekend's quarter final football games between Armagh and Fermanagh and Tyrone and Mayo were sold out, people actually believed it. As such, the GAA lost 175,000 of potential revenue from tickets that could have been sold, but weren't.

Isn't it interesting to note that notion of word going out too early? The Croke Park source quoted in the story isn't bothered that the word that went out was a downright lie, that the game was sold out when it wasn't sold out at all, or anything like it; what concerns this backroom buachaill was that word went out too early. If only the boys had been able to keep a lid on it for another twelve hours, we are to understand all would have been well.

What sort of thinking is this? What business model are the GAA following in the way they sell tickets? If the tickets for the quarter-finals were on general sale just like apples or any other commodity are on sale, the GAA would always sell out their games because they have a product people want to support. The arcane chicanery that goes on with regard to ticket allocation - tickets going out to clubs, tickets coming back from clubs, tickets going out once more to clubs and so on - is supposedly in order to keep the games pure, that only the f´i;orghael may attend. Harumph - ask your local tout on All-Ireland final day what club he's affiliated to and let me know your answer. I'd be interested to know.

It couldn't be because certain GAA administrators like to lord it with the Golden Tickets at All-Ireland time, could it? That'd hardly be the case. The following story is surely just a figment of An Spailpín's imagination: Once upon a time, a certain county had reached the All-Ireland. And this certain county had a secretary (which is where the real power lies, by the way - none of your oul' chairman nonsense) who was rather idiosyncratic in his ways. So idiosyncratic that it was not unusual, in the fortnight before the big game, to see a queue of people outside the door of his house, his private residence, waiting for him to condescend to open the door and sell a ticket. When he felt like it.

And he didn't always feel like it. One punter, after waiting for hours, finally got to meet the great man, and asked for two tickets. "Why two tickets," An Runaí asked him, "have you got two arses?"

And we're meant to shed real tears then when they make a balls of their schemes and end up down money on the deal? Well boo. Hoo. Hoo.