A THIRD MAJOR concert is likely to be held in Croke Park this summer but it’s not going to be a second U2 date added to the schedule for GAA headquarters.
Croke Park Stadium & Commercial Director Peter McKenna yesterday revealed that they are ‘very close’ to signing an act for another major summer gig at the venue, that will probably take place in June.
It was confirmed last October that Coldplay will play at Croke Park on 8 July, while in January it was announced that U2 will play on 22 July.
Despite speculation that a second U2 date would be added due to free days either side of that date on the European leg of their tour, McKenna explained why that won’t be the case.
“We can’t get the equipment from Barcelona, which is their previous concert, to Dublin, in time to have a Friday concert. That’s the issue.
“Then because their next move is (to Paris), yeah, it’s logistical hops.
“We have three nights (for concerts in 2017) and we’re very confident of filling the third night although we haven’t signed anything yet.
“It’s probably going to be June. We’re very close, but we haven’t got contracts signed. Anyone that plays here has to be a massive band so I’m just not at liberty to say.”
After the controversy surrounding the cancellation of the Garth Brooks concerts in 2014, last year represented a success story for the stadium with Bruce Springsteen playing two sell-out shows and Beyonce also playing last July.
“What it does do is it puts Croke Park on a world map,” said McKenna.
“You’ve got loads of artists kind of saying, ‘Oh, if we’re going to play in Europe, we need to play in Dublin, we need to play in Croke Park’.
“It’s a fantastic boost for us and it’s a great boost for the city.”
The concert revenue contributed to Croke Park raking in €4.8 million in 2016 from stadium hire, an increase of €0.7 million from 2015.
However McKenna raised future concerns for the stadium, principally the fallout from Brexit and the lack of hotel rooms in Dublin.
He revealed that the estimated cost of Brexit to Croke Park is already ‘in the hundreds of thousands’.
“Anything that gives market uncertainty makes people less anxious to have marketing conferences and so on. Not Brexit in and of itself, more the uncertainty.
“It (the cost of Brexit) would be in the hundreds of thousands, not in the millions. Say €300,000, something like that. Conferences that we would have anticipated coming across didn’t.
“We have a sales team based in the UK and in the last couple of years we had been getting reasonably good business out of there, but in the last 18 months, that has dried up.
“I think a lot of companies are pulling in their horns and are less inclined to invest in taking their message and their teams to Ireland.
“Some of that would be as a consequence of the Brexit decision which came as a shock to many but also the availability of hotel rooms, which has affected Dublin’s competitiveness. That’s a massive issue, we shouldn’t be downplaying that.
“Airbnb – I think they have 4,000 or 5,000 rooms – is making a difference. People are becoming more comfortable using it. But it’s hard to use an Airbnb scenario when you’re bringing 250 delegates across and a coach picks everyone up in one location.”