Kerry - new full-time Commercial Manager

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Kerry - new full-time Commercial Manager

Postby donal66 » Sun May 06, 2018 4:23 am

Kerry’s statement bang on the money
Counties are starting to wake up to commercial opportunites

Michael Foley
May 6 2018, 12:01am,
The Sunday Times
Grand designs: Kerry’s centre of excellence at Currans

It was mildly surprising in the last few dog days before the championship that the announcement last week of Maurice O’Meara’s imminent appointment as full-time commercial manager for Kerry GAA passed off without too much comment or notice. As statements of intent go, arming up a full-time guy to oversee and soup up your fundraising is the boardroom equivalent of the hurler firing off his helmet as a sign that things are getting serious.

Dublin did it four years ago when Mossy Quinn was appointed their full-time commercial and marketing manager and one look at the 13 different brand partners listed on their official website reflects the gigantic impact of that appointment on them and the game. There wasn’t much kerfuffle either when Wexford went down a similar route recently and announced Eanna Martin in March as their first full-time commercial manager. In many ways it’s more surprising that Wexford, Kerry and Dublin are the only three GAA counties with a dedicated, full-time commercial manager maximising their fundraising capacities.

And Kerry have already been raising numbers to make others tremble about their potential once they start taking this thing seriously. A single trip in 2015 to America raised $1.15m to help build Kerry’s new centre of excellence at Currans with other large tranches raised over the years through international and domestic sources. Although the heavy lifting is done in terms of infrastructure, their international fundraising streams remain essential to keep paying the capital bills on Currans while the county board manage the day-to-day payments.

Add in the obligation to provide the expertise and resources to close the gap to Dublin while maintaining their player pathways in both codes, and the real meaning and impact on the GAA of a full-time commercial manager raises all sorts of questions for Kerry and everyone else. In one sense, creating a post to streamline and maximise any possible revenue streams is the ultimate example of a county fulfilling its own potential through the GAA’s officially approved channels. The other argument, at a time when the GAA is attempting to pull the reins on the inter-county game in favour of the club, is that commercial managers represent another Trojan horse dragging the inter-county game further from the roots of the organisation itself.

But they’re also a product of a wider environment where the football championship in particular obliges the weak to compete with the strong, the GAA’s reliance on the inter-county game as a revenue source is indulging professionalisation. Teams need money not to win, but to simply compete and keep pace.

As it stands the biggest honeypot for most counties is a couple of trips to America and the UK shaking buckets, selling golf days and banquet tables to the diaspora, but that’s beginning to wear too. Having pounded that path for a few years Kerry even let the American trip go last year. When the forerunners of Cairde Chorcai, Cork’s new fundraising group, made two trips to Chicago and San Francisco in the last couple of years, some of the stories about a few fundraising delegations coming across were messy.

For any county planning a long-term sustainable relationship abroad, the benefits need to be more consciously reciprocal. As well the usual rounds of storytelling, pictures and autographs, the Cork crew also held coaching clinics for the local juvenile players in both cities. The reaction to that was hugely positive.

But, until New York and London in particular develop models that go beyond a basic senior inter-county team, there’s nowhere in the locality for sizeable amounts of interested money to go. “Even without counties coming and doing big fundraising events people in London will send funds back over,” says London manager Ciaran Deely. “It’s tricky. It’s the chicken and egg thing. In order for us to be successful we need a little more money. But people won’t give money till you’ve a successful team.”

Along with the appointments in Kerry and Wexford, Cork getting their act together, even on a voluntary basis, is another flare in the sky. No other county across both codes has the potential to match and even overtake Dublin.

Between the potential impact of Cork’s earning power and the apparent acceptance of the full-time commercial manager, a reaction is inevitable once the penny drops, especially among counties comparable to Wexford and Kerry in particular. The speed of the race is about to increase again. For better or worse.
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Re: Kerry - new full-time Commercial Manager

Postby jbm1 » Sun May 06, 2018 7:01 am

Another job for bob.
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Re: Kerry - new full-time Commercial Manager

Postby tipp-ex » Sun May 06, 2018 9:44 am

I spoke to a fella who saw a "delegation" from another county both outbound and inbound on flights to the USA a couple years ago. Said they were a sight to behold

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