Pre-tax profits at the tech firm that decides questionable points in top GAA games this year increased three fold to £19.4 million (€22.46 million).
New accounts for Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd show that the business recorded the 200 per cent increase in pre-tax profits from £6.45 million to £19.4 million after revenues surged by 59 per cent from £37.64 million to £59.8 million in the 12 months to the end of March this year.
The Hawk-Eye score detection technology has become an integral part of the big GAA match occasions at Croke Park over the last number of years and the directors state that the Hawk-Eye business has rebounded since the Covid-19 pandemic as the full schedule of sports events has resumed.
The directors state that “further growth was supported by significant new contracts”.
Hawk-Eye was this summer at the centre of controversy after the system erroneously denied Galway’s Shane Walsh a point during the first half of the All-Ireland football semi-final against Derry, but the decision was reversed at half-time after replays indicated that his shot had clearly gone between the posts.
A report provided to the GAA on the lapse found that “a combination of unrelated issues, including minor hardware failures” led to the erroneous finding of the score.
The GAA suspended the use of Hawk-Eye for the Galway Limerick All-Ireland hurling semi-final and the Dublin Kerry All-Ireland football semi-final before it was restored for the Limerick Kilkenny All-Ireland hurling final.
The company has enjoyed a surge in business thanks to VAR (Video Assisted Referee) technology at soccer matches around the world.
The accounts for the Sony-owned firm show that revenues for the ‘UK and Ireland’ last year almost doubled from £7.25 million to £13.7 million.
Europe is the company’s largest market, with revenues totalling £33.3 million or 55 per cent of total revenues this year.
Globally Hawk-Eye generates the bulk of its revenue from soccer, which accounts for 74 per cent or £44.3 million of overall revenues.
The income from GAA’s hurling and Gaelic football represents only a small fraction of Hawk-Eye’s revenues and is included in ‘other sports’ where revenues this year increased almost four-fold from £427,000 to £1.63 million.
The firm’s two other major revenue generators were tennis at £6.4 million and cricket at £5.13 million.
In 2021, Hawk-Eye was used for 22 match days at Croke Park and many of those match days would have been double headers and with a number of triple headers.
Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd this year paid out a dividend of £2.6 million.
Numbers employed by the company this year increased from 327 to 396 as staff costs increased by 36 per cent from £13.93 million to £18.9 million.
The profit this year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of £8.26 million.