If you’re a season ticket holder you’ll have got your renewal email from the GAA by now, letting you know that it’s time to sign up for 2016. Along with Dublin, we’re the only county where season ticket sales are confined solely to renewals with both of us having maxed out on this offer. Little wonder, then, that our two recent All-Ireland semi-final clashes sold out in jig-time.
I know some people are hacked off at the price increases, for both the adult and juvenile tickets, that have been imposed in relation to the standard season ticket (i.e. the non-Cairde Mhaigheo one). The price of the standard ticket has been hiked from €85 to €99, with the cost of the juvenile ticket doubling, from €10 to €20. In addition, the early bird option – which last year cut the cost of the standard ticket from €85 to €75 for renewals done before the end of October – has been discontinued.
I get where people are coming from on this: unless prices for general entry are also rising by similar percentages, then sticking season ticket holders with increased charges seems like an odd way to be rewarding loyalty. Be there all the way, how are you? That said, I’m a bit of a contrarion where it comes to what the GAA charges for entry to its matches – in particular the big games at Croke Park, which I think represent extraordinary good value. I’ll spare you the economic rationale but, for sure, if the GAA had their heads screwed on in an economically efficient manner they’d charge more – perhaps a lot more – for entry to the big games, in particular to All-Ireland finals. But that, I know, is another day’s work entirely and, taken in isolation, hitting the association’s most loyal supporters in this way does seem like a low blow.
Cairde Mhaigheo members can, though, have no cause to gripe about what they’re being asked to pay next year, as the 2016 price for the Cairde Mhaigheo ticket (which, in GAA season ticket-speak, translates as the Club + option) stays at €200. This offer also includes yet another jacket (this is the third one in the series – I’d suggest it should be a light, late spring one this time), another hat and a scarf. In addition, it includes free entry to all Mayo club championship games, which is no use to the likes of me but is definitely of benefit to those of you living within the county.
A major change to the T&Cs for the Cairde Mhaigheo ticket for 2016 is that the attendance percentage threshold required to qualify for an All-Ireland final ticket, should we avail of this handy run to the final that everyone keeps talking about, is being dispensed with. In practical terms, this means we’re back to that happy place we used to be in before the Cairde Mhaigheo tickets went online last year and so once again we no longer have to worry about getting to every match. This change doesn’t, however, apply to the standard season ticket.
In other news, as some of you have already mentioned in the comments, the draw for the 2016 provincial championships will take place tonight, with RTÉ 2 showing it live at 8pm. I won’t be sitting glued to the box for it, though – I’m off out to see the Kevin Heffernan movie tonight and so will post something on the draw once I get back from that.