Here we will look at the changes in ticket prices since the beginning of the millennium, and how the GAA currently operates its pricing model for All-Ireland Final day.
In terms of the effect of price on sporting tickets, many academic studies find demand to be price inelastic - that is, a proportionate increase in the price of the product leads to a less than proportionate decrease in the quantity demanded for the product. In simple terms, attendance demand does not respond greatly to an increase in price.
Since the beginning of the millennium, the GAA have undergone five pricing reviews and ticket prices for the All-Ireland Hurling Final have risen by 125% since 2000. Despite this increase, a sold-out stadium is still guaranteed, highlighting the price inelasticity. The All-Ireland Semi-Final and Quarter-Finals have also increased in three of the five price reviews. Semi-Final tickets have doubled in price since 2000, with a 75% increase to be seen with the quarter-final tickets.
The accompanying graphic below shows the change in the price of a stand ticket for the All-Ireland Series from 2000 onwards.
If we take a couple and two children who want to attend this year’s All-Ireland, it will cost them €360 to purchase tickets to attend the All-Ireland Final. If we compare this to the All-Ireland Quarter and Semi-Finals respectively, the difference is significant. With U-16 discounts, it would cost the same family €80 in total (less than one ticket to the final!) to attend the Quarter Final and €110 for the Semi-Final. Given that the prices of tickets rise, a family will come under pressure to purchase at this price.
Is it right that a seat in the back row of the Cusack Stand Upper, or an obstructed view behind the net in the Davin End costs the same as a seat on the 65 in the Lower Hogan? Tickets to attend the Champions League Final, or a Six Nations Rugby game are priced at various levels, depending on how much you are willing to spend on a seat. Rather than a single price model, should the GAA start looking into a price discrimination model that offers lower quality seats to supporters, and families in particular, at different prices and increase the price of the best seats in the house as a way of maximising consumer surplus?