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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Rabbitte to begin review of free-to-air sport on TV

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 16/06/2014 | 02:30

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The move comes after Sky signed a deal with the GAA for the first ever pay-per-view games. Sportsfile
The move comes after Sky signed a deal with the GAA for the first ever pay-per-view games. Sportsfile

A review of TV coverage of major sporting events could see them all shown on free-to-air TV.

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The move comes after Sky signed a deal with the GAA for the first ever pay-per-view games.

Sky's debut in the GAA market earlier this month pulled in just 32,000 viewers, compared to 402,000 that tuned into the Dublin/Laois encounter the following day.

Now members of the public can advise the Government on the big events that should be aired for free by making a submission to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

The minister, Pat Rabbitte, will today announce a review of TV coverage of designated sporting and other events.

Following the review, he can add to the games that are currently designated, which include the All-Ireland senior inter-county football and hurling finals.

"I would urge all interested parties and members of the public to submit their views to my department, which I will ensure are considered and will assist me in making my decision," Mr Rabbitte said.

TV3 group director of broadcasting, Niall Cogley, said free-to-air broadcasting is an important public service. "While we respect the qualities that Sky and other pay-TV services bring, we note that its current coverage of GAA is virtually identical to TV3's previous coverage, using the same cameras, same production teams and same panellists," he said. "The only difference is the coverage was free for citizens on TV3."

RTE said it will be making a submission to the review, but had no further comment.

The minister is required to review the list of designated events every three years.

The designated events are:

* The All-Ireland senior inter-county football and hurling finals.

* The Summer Olympics.

* Ireland's games, including qualifying, in the European football championship and FIFA World Cup tournaments.

* The opening games, the semi-finals and final of the European football championship finals and the FIFA World Cup finals.

* Ireland's games in the Rugby World Cup finals.

* The Irish Grand National and the Irish Derby.

* The Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show.

In addition, Ireland's games in the Six Nations rugby championship can be broadcast after the event.

Submissions can be made by email to majorevents@ dcenr.gov.ie or by writing to the department. The closing date is August 1.

Sky declined to comment on the review.

Irish Independent

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