Fears over TV saturation
Live televised GAA championship matches may not be as frequent as they have been in the past, the GAA's Director General Paraic Duffy has hinted in his annual report.
Duffy has warned that the impact of live televised games on the club schedule in the summer may now be at its tipping point and he has cautioned that the association need to be more "selective" in the future.
He has also given a strong indication that, given the association's "responsibility to the wider GAA and Irish sporting public", pay-per-view GAA matches are not something they would be keen to embrace "in any significant manner in the years ahead".
The GAA is already tied up in a deal with Setanta which sees the channel broadcast live games on a Saturday night during the leagues. The current TV deals end after the 2011 Allianz leagues.
The high quantity of live TV games has captured a new summer audience for the GAA and up to 50 games were shown in 2009 between RTE and TV3, but Duffy has suggested that 40 games would be a more reasonable figure.
"For the GAA it is probably time to determine formally the level of live television coverage best suited to the promotion of our games," he says.
"By definition, we do not have the flexibility of other sports to stage matches during the week or on Friday nights and thus the majority of our games takes place on Saturdays and Sundays only. These are also of course the days which see the greatest amount of on-field activity in our clubs.
"There is a delicate balance to be struck between keeping our games to the fore in terms of profile and awareness and managing the effects live broadcasts have on the club scene.
"I believe that we may need to be more selective in the games that we make available for live broadcast in future and we need to consider whether we have reached saturation point in this respect."
Duffy has also reiterated his warning that budgets for inter-county teams are "unsustainable in the current economic climate".
He says: "The expenditure on inter-county teams as a percentage of the annual turnover of our county boards is a matter of serious concern.
"While a certain proportion of this expenditure is beyond the control of our counties, there is nonetheless a responsibility on each county to keep a tight rein on costs in this respect."
Duffy believes that the newly introduced players' and managers' charters can be useful tools in meeting those responsibilities.
The director general has welcomed the return of the International Rules and once again dispelled the belief that the link with the AFL has any impact on the loss of fledgling GAA stars to the Australian game.
"Bluntly stated, this is not something the GAA can prevent, no more than we can prevent any of our players being signed by soccer or rugby clubs."