RTE vows to 'bounce back' from Six Nations TV blow
RTE is preparing a war chest to defend critical sports coverage rights amid an onslaught by TV3, Sky and UTV in an increasingly bitter battle for TV viewers.
The move came after Montrose bosses were left stunned by the loss of Six Nations rugby championship coverage rights to TV3.
However, RTE's Managing Director of TV, Glen Killane, last night vowed that the state broadcaster "will be resilient and will bounce-back".
TV3 will cover the Six Nations from 2018 after clinching a deal rumoured to be worth €10m.
Sky confirmed they will now be broadcasting live football matches in Ireland on Saturdays while UTV is hoping to expand their GAA coverage.
Mr Killane said it is not the first disappointment RTE has suffered but he promised that the station intends to maintain the quality sports programming for which it has become renowned.
"We are very proud of our sports coverage and we have built up great relationships with sports bodies in Ireland and overseas," he said.
"For instance, we have a wonderful relationship with the GAA stretching back almost 80 years and that is something we are very proud of."
"RTE is very closely linked with Gaelic games and that is something we intend to maintain and develop."
Mr Killane, a former Head of Sport, said RTE also has a strong relationship with the FAI.
"We will be broadcasting both the forthcoming play-off matches between Ireland and Bosnia for the UEFA European Championship finals next year," he added.
"We will also be broadcasting the European Championship finals as well next summer. RTE is justifiably proud of its sports coverage and will continue to do everything to bring the best possible coverage of Irish interest to our viewers."
However, TV3 boss David McRedmond said the new deal was an exciting development for their station.