Saturday 27 December 2014

GAA must launch own channel – there's a global audience for every game

Donny Mahoney

Published 12/03/2014 | 02:30

23 June 2013; TV camera at the game. Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final, Cork v Clare, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
We're talking about a global audience woefully underserved by the existing broadcasting arrangements

There was a moment of nervy genius from Michael Murphy late on Sunday afternoon that would have been lost to the world bar the masses in Sean MacCumhaill Park were it not for a guy named Damien Dunnion.

You see, the game was not televised. Dunnion was a spectator who was standing right on line with Murphy as he brought Donegal level at the death with a free from an almost impossible angle. Dunnion captured the free on his camera phone and uploaded it to the web and Murphy's kick now has been seen by thousands of GAA fans; were it not for him, Irish society might have been short one crucial piece of evidence of Murphy's greatness.

In one sense, you sympathise with the editors at RTÉ Sport, faced with turning a league Sunday into a digestible hour of television, especially when the hurling and football converge as they did last weekend.

On the other hand, though, it's unbelievable in this day and age, to this American, that any game of inter-county GAA isn't being broadcast. And if RTÉ or TG4 won't air those games, the GAA should be doing it themselves, either on their website, or ideally, on their own channel.

The GAA and the WWE have wildly diverging sporting philosophies, but they have two key similarities: they both have a monopoly in a field of global interest, and both have been clever at changing and adapting over the years.

I mention this because the WWE recently launched its own channel that provides users worldwide with a seemingly endless amount of current content, marquee events and archival footage for a mere 10 bucks a month.


I've heard plenty of talk of the GAA Channel over the years. I can't wait for it. For the modern sports fan, there is no such thing as too much. Because we're not talking about a sport with a niche following on a tiny island off Europe. We're talking a global audience woefully underserved by the existing broadcasting arrangements.

Carlow beat Antrim 3-15 to 2-17 at the weekend in Division 4. I feel bad for missing it. I look forward to the day when I can watch it when I want to.

Irish Independent

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