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GAA’s bid to boost interest in hard times

By John Campbell

When GAA Director General Paraic Duffy revealed immediately prior to Sunday’s Allianz Football League semi-final double bill at Croke Park that a major national promotional and marketing campaign in respect of the All- Ireland Championships would be undertaken, he could not have thought how significant his announcement would prove.

With just 11,300 fans passing through the Headquarters turnstiles for the Kerry v Mayo and Cork v Down ties, the stark implications of the current recession were vividly highlighted.

And Duffy, pragmatic as always, does not believe that fans are just awaiting the Championship before putting their hands into their wallets to support games.

Having promised that the GAA’s promotional drive will be “the most comprehensive marketing plan ever undertaken”, considerable urgency has been lent to the implementation of this initiative following the miniscule turnout for the league semi-finals.

The GAA faces massive competition for the hearts and minds of the public this summer from the European Soccer Championships, the Olympic Games, the closing stages of the Heineken Cup and the Irish Open Golf Championship at Portrush.

The Ulster Council has already thrown its weight behind the marketing initiative with chairman Aoghan Farrell to the fore in a concerted effort to woo fans.

Like Duffy, he is optimistic that the GAA can hold its own in the battle to attract paying customers.

“It will take a big effort but with the co-operation of everyone I believe we can actually increase attendances this year,” declared Duffy.

He has also called on counties to release team selections earlier in the week for the purpose of sparking discussion among fans and increasing media coverage.

Duffy’s call will certainly strike a chord with followers everywhere.

Belfast Telegraph

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