6 December 2020
By Tom Collins
5 year plan: Cork GAA recently unveiled an ambitious new programme of investment and commercial activity that it expects will realise over €20 million in revenue over the next 5 years
The income – through commercial revenue including; Cork County Board and stadia sponsorship, concerts and stadium rental and advertising – will be used to invest heavily in clubs across Cork, and in a better resourced county structure.
One Cork amalgamates all of the existing organisations working to further the sport across the county, including the Cork County Board, the Páirc Uí Chaoimh Stadium Board, Cairde Chorcaí, the clubs and the army of dedicated supporters of Cork GAA.
The ambition of One Cork is to make Cork GAA one of the most successful sporting organisations in the country, both on and off the pitch. By investing properly in clubs, schools and county structures, One Cork will lay the groundwork for future success at every level from Rebel Óg to Inter-County.
The plan will build upon a series of strategies in key areas, namely sponsorship, commercial opportunities at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, ticket sales and advertising.
A group of dedicated Cork GAA supporters with vast commercial experience has been working on the commercial strategy for One Cork for a number of months. Their stated goal is to introduce a commercial engine that will deliver the required return to drive a vision and ambition for Cork GAA.
In terms of sponsorship, One Cork is looking to activate a number of new opportunities that will realise the true potential of a world class stadium like Páirc Uí Chaoimh. This includes the naming rights for elements of “the Páirc”, its development as a national venue for events and its appeal as a year-round destination.
One Cork will also look at using its existing real estate for new advertising opportunities, using a model that has worked extremely well for other sports.
One Cork will deepen links with the clubs and their communities. The goal is to ensure that every player, from the 5-year-old starting out to the inter-county star, will see the benefits of the programme. This has already begun with the Rebels’ Bounty, a revamped draw format that will see clubs directly benefit from improved ticket sales.
Seán Ó hÓrain, Uachtarán CLG said “One behalf of the wider Association I wish Cork well in their endeavours in establishing ‘One Cork’. The project is ambitious and innovative and has the potential, if fully supported by the wider Cork GAA family, to harness the huge goodwill that exists towards our games in what is the biggest county with the largest number of clubs in the GAA”.
Tracey Kennedy, chairperson of Cork County Board said, “One Cork realises a long-held ambition to drive Cork GAA forward united, as befits the largest county in Ireland. By embracing this vision of what Cork GAA should be, every member of every club will be on a firmer footing for the future, both in terms of finance and structure. From this point on, there is a single purpose – the success of the entire organisation with a view to benefitting all our players and all our clubs, and ensuring that the Rebel red is once again a regular feature in Croke Park. I would like to thank those who have given so much of their time to putting this plan in place, and I look forward to being part of the team that brings it to fruition.”
Michael O’Flynn is part of the One Cork steering group. He said, “Cork GAA has always evoked passion from its supporters, but that passion wasn’t always translated into real commercial success that feeds its growth. I am happy to have been asked to lend my support, and I am proud that One Cork has developed a new vision for Cork GAA. Our plan will bring a strong commercial focus to our activities to ensure that at both club and inter-county level the necessary resources are in place to support players. What is crucial now is that we bring a real focus to executing successfully the plans that have been developed. I firmly believe that One Cork will result in tremendous growth at every level of the game, and I would ask every GAA supporter to become part of it”.
Ted Owens from Cairde Chorcaí said, “Our mission has always been to help Cork GAA teams to succeed at the highest level. We believe that this objective and our efforts to improve training facilities and support coaching can best be achieved under the One Cork model. Cairde Chorcaí looks forward to now being incorporated into One Cork, and we ask every GAA member here and abroad to fully support the initiative”.
The One Cork steering group includes: Kevin O’Donovan (Chairperson), Ted Owens (Vice-Chairperson), Michael O’Flynn, Jim Woulfe, Kieran Calnan, Tracey Kennedy, Marc Sheehan, Diarmuid Gowen, John Mullins, Tomás Mulcahy, Conor McCarthy, Seán O’Brien and Sinéad O’Keeffe.