independent

Friday 18 April 2014

GAA TV gets cold reception from McKenna

The GAA's commercial director Peter McKenna says there are no plans to explore the feasibility of a dedicated GAA TV channel in the short or medium-term future, WRITES COLM KEYS.

A number of counties in Ulster have taken to streaming McKenna Cup matches live on websites, with Armagh and Cavan last weekend estimated to have had up to 30,000 hits, while Down's home matches have also been streamed live on the Destination Newry site.

Last summer, Leinster Council broadcast regular pre-match discussion and interviews featuring journalists and well-known former players on their own dedicated TV website.

The Ulster Council have also developed a number of web-based initiatives and their secretary Danny Murphy has been one of the loudest voices in calling for a dedicated channel, particularly for overseas viewers.

But McKenna doesn't believe such a move is imminent and has questioned the quality of some of the products on offer recently.

He says the association are very satisfied with the TV coverage of their games that they currently enjoy.

"All our contracts are out and we'd be very happy with the way the broadcasters are performing. The results (of recent web-based productions) have been quite mixed; some of it has been quite poor," he said.

McKenna does acknowledge, however, that the market is heading in that direction but sees no need to "jump in".

"We have to look at a way that delivers better quality and more relevancy, so it does require more careful consideration," he said.

"I'm all in favour of experimentation but let's not fool ourselves – it's not of a standard that is acceptable to a vast majority of people."

Meanwhile, the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of Croke Park won't be as "extravagant" as the celebrations that marked the 125th anniversary of the GAA itself, according to the stadium director.

The celebrations will begin on Saturday week with the double-header between Donegal and Kildare and Dublin and Cork kicking off the leagues.

"There are a number of events planned but we'd be conscious of the financial situation that clubs and county boards find themselves in and there will be nothing overboard," he said.

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