GOING to club championship games in Cork is taking a much different route than in the past.
Rocking up to a turnstile or gate with cash won’t cut it anymore because it’s all high-tech now.
Tickets have to be bought on-line, printed off or stored on phones and scanned at venues.
For an old dinosaur like yours truly and those of a certain vintage who are technologically challenged, it presents obvious problems.
The younger generation wonder at all the fuss because it’s second nature to them, but it definitely will affect people’s attitudes to attending games.
Supporters will have to make their minds up earlier in the week about going to games because leaving it to the last minute is risky.
This may not become problematic now, but it could be towards the business end of the championships, when semi-finals and finals come around and there’s greater interest.
The county board isn’t selling tickets to clubs and is asking them to help struggling members in going on-line and printing off tickets.
The new thinking is part of their plan for greater streamlining and efficiencies as Kevin O’Donovan, CEO/Sec, told the monthly meeting recently.
“We need to collect €1m in gate receipts and we believe technology is the future.
“For us to come in on Monday morning and be able to print off a report on all the games played at the weekend with the revenue from each game and the number of tickets scanned is invaluable information and would take us 12 months to collate otherwise.
“There is a small commission when buying on Ticketmaster and people have questioned that, but it’s saving us thousands of euro.
“It means we don’t have to get in cars to drop off tickets, lodge money or clubs getting floats and it’s a very small cost.”
St Nick’s delegate Jerry Howe said not taking money at the gates was going to discourage people.
“A lot of people won’t go to the trouble of buying a ticket earlier in the week if they’re unsure of going to the game,” he said.
“We have to find a way so that people can buy a ticket on the day and scanning tickets with bigger attendances will cause delays.”
Responding, O’Donovan said it was the policy currently, but will be reviewed.
“The numbers were up on the first weekend of the football,” he commented.
“We have a lot of analytics now. We know the clubs who draw the biggest crowds, for example.
“If it’s slow going into grounds then we need more scanners and we don’t need expensive scanners either because it can be done on a phone.
“We intend to give more support to clubs and more training.
“I wouldn’t see public sales of tickets, but I would see a help desk for Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Pairc Ui Rinn in particular to help people buying on line.”
The first weekend of club football fixtures had just one game affected by the upper limit on attendances and all the other venues were able to handle crowds.
“We’re up to 50 per cent capacity at venues and we don’t see ourselves surpassing that figure.
“We believe we’re 90 per cent of the way there and we’re trying to rectify any issues from the feedback we’re getting.”
The board are also spreading the net of venues hosting games as far and as wide as possible.
Vice-chairman Pat Horgan told the meeting that 98 games are earmarked for September at 61 different venues.
“We’ll play a small number of games on Fridays to help with the schedule and the only reason for a postponement is a death of a player or club officer and the game must be played within 48 hours of the original fixture,” he said.
The board are on course to complete their master fixture schedule on time, but it’s going to be tight to meet the Munster Club Championship deadlines.
In hurling, Cork have a bye to the semi-finals and it’s the same for Kerry in football.