Sports company O’Neills said the compressed All-Ireland series in senior hurling and football will result in a 12-15 percent drop in the company’s replica county jersey sales this year.
O’Neills owner Paul Towell said today that concluding the men’s All Ireland series by hosting the All Ireland senior hurling and football finals in July was “not good for business”. .
Sports retailers are usually busy this time of year selling replica jerseys for counties that made it to the All Ireland semi-finals and finals, while hype builds on the season’s highlight of September’s hosting of the finals at Croke Park.
However, Mr Towell said the end of the men’s All-Ireland series last month would “really hurt” the firm’s shirt sales in August.
The GAA’s switch for the “split season” between county and club was unanimously approved by the GAA convention last February, when there was no debate on the issue.
However, the move came under fire from a number of All-Ireland winners and pundits including Pat Spillane and Donal Óg Cusack, while former GAA Presidents Nickey Brennan and Sean Kelly also voiced their own concerns about the new All-Ireland schedule Ireland series have voiced.
Mr Towell said: “While the hurling and football championships have had some very entertaining matches, from a business perspective it is very difficult to produce and distribute enough shirts to meet demand for semi-finals and finals in less than two weeks.”
He said that with the championship shortened in 2022, “shirt sales wouldn’t be as good as other years”.
“There was very little time for hype before the big games. We estimate the decline in replica sales this year will be between 12 and 15.”
Referring to the best-selling county replica jersey that year, Mr Towell said Derry was the best seller for 2022.
He said he prefers the All-Ireland Finals, which take place in late August or early September.
He pointed out that club jersey sales could in no way make up for the county’s lost jersey sales.
Mr Towell would not rely on the company’s earnings from Replica County shirts, but said that selling County shirts is “a very important and significant part of our business”.
He said he didn’t think the conclusion of the men’s All-Ireland series in July “was a huge achievement as August and September are left to other sports”.
“The GAA is retreating from the high-profile sports arena during this time, where it has traditionally dominated all media.”
The O’Neills brand has long been synonymous with the ATM and employs around 1,000 people North and South.
More recently, it received a sales boost thereafter normal people Actor Paul Mescal was photographed in O’Neills shorts.
Mr Towell said the €20 Morne shorts were “by far O’Neill’s best-selling product for 2021 and sales are up 30 per cent compared to last year”.
The latest reports filed by O’Neill’s main Republic company, Balbriggan Textiles Ltd, show that profit before tax fell only slightly in 2020 to 1.15 million euros.
This followed the company’s gross profit falling 8% from €12.1 million to €11.1 million.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/early-all-ireland-finals-hits-sales-of-county-jerseys-says-oneills-41887904.html Early All-Ireland final hit back on county shirt sales, says O’Neills