Monday 26 September 2016

GAA keen to strike early rights deal as TV negotiations loom

Martin Breheny and Declan Rooney

Published 07/07/2016 | 02:30

Aogan O Fearghail Picture: SPORTSFILE
Aogan O Fearghail Picture: SPORTSFILE

The GAA is planning to complete its latest TV and radio broadcasting rights deals by the end of this year, rather than allowing them to drag into 2017.

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The current three-year contracts expire at the end of this season and negotiations are already under way for a share-out which will be watched with keen interest.

The decision to include Sky Sports in the 2014-'15-'16 deal caused a major controversy, with opposition expressed within sections of the GAA over the link-up with a subscription channel.

Dublin brought a motion to Congress this year, seeking that all inter-county games be available free to air but it wasn't well-received and lost on an 85-15 per cent vote.

Under the deal, Sky has exclusive access to 14 championship games, while RTE remained the dominant player with 31 games.

TV3, who lost out last time after being involved previously, are expected to bid for a return while Eir Sport, which has acquired Setanta Sports Ireland, may also be interested.

"We would hope to have it concluded by the end of the year. There are many rights holders to our media rights across TV and radio and there are lots more showing interest in our games all the time," said GAA president Aogán ó Fearghail.

"In fact, we have more showing interest than we can accommodate, which is a good position for us."

Irish Independent

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