Boards set for 5k windfall if county finals shown live
Counties whose senior club championship finals are shown 'live' on TG4 this year will receive a €5,000 payment from Croke Park to compensate for a possible loss of gate revenue.
It follows complaints from some counties in recent years that 'live' TV coverage has reduced attendances at finals, which remain one of the big earners for boards.
TG4 wanted maintain their county final coverage but with boards growing increasingly reluctant to make them available for free, there was a possibility that the station would be left with a very limited choice of games which usually fill much of the October schedule.
However, the GAA's Central Council has now stepped in with a sweetener for counties. The GAA were keen to maintain county final coverage as widely as possible on TG4, which later moves on to the provincial and All-Ireland championships, concluding in Croke Park on St.Patrick's Day. TG4 also shows Allianz League games on Sunday afternoons.
Most counties like having their finals shown 'live' for promotional purposes and were reluctant to impose an outright ban but they also believed that gates were being hit.
Meanwhile, the GAA says that the new format for the All-Ireland football championships, which starts next year, will have no financial impact on the latest TV rights deal. Replacing the quarter-finals with a 'round robin' series adds eight games to the schedule.
"We signed the agreements based on the current structure. It (new system) might have an impact on the number of games shown but it doesn't affect the financial side," said director-general Páraic Duffy.
The four quarter-finals are shown but with many of the 'round robin' games - including all four in the last round - being played at the same time, it's unlikely to lead to much of an increase on the current schedule, which allows 45 football and hurling games to be shown 'live'. "We'll be looking at the whole area in due course. I didn't arise in negotiations as we didn't know if Congress would agree to introduce it," said Duffy.