Gaelic Football

Thursday 10 July 2014

Liam O'Neill admits GAA open to pay-per-view TV deal

Martin Breheny

Published 03/12/2013|00:01

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Liam Ó Néill
Liam Ó Néill

GAA president Liam O'Neill has not ruled out pay-per-view TV coverage of football and hurling, as hinted at recently by the Association's marketing chief Peter McKenna.

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Negotiations are ongoing for the next GAA television deal, and among the options reputedly being considered is a link-up with Sky, which charges a subscription fee for its channels.

O'Neill said that since negotiations on the entire package were at a sensitive stage, he would not comment publicly on them.

"Peter McKenna is a shrewd gent. He will lead the negotiations and I will only get involved at the final stage. He has the expertise to do this and I think we have to leave him to it," he said.

There will be outrage among supporters if any of the main packages are sold to a subscription channel, so it's possible that the GAA's failure to distance itself from such a proposal is merely a bargaining tool to extract a better deal from broadcasters such as RTE, TV3 and BBC.

O'Neill said that while local coverage of GAA games was important, they also had to be conscious of the overseas market. "Increasingly, the profile of the Irish family abroad is changing. People want to bring people to their houses rather than congregate in pubs."

O'Neill also expressed the view that it might be advisable for some counties to come together to negotiate joint sponsorship deals. He said that recent comments, made in the wake of Dublin's major sponsorship deal, were misinterpreted and gave the impression that the GAA might seek to have larger counties hand over some of their sponsorship income to smaller counties.

"What I could see is a situation where two or three counties could come together and possibly do better with a joint bid for sponsorship than if they go about it individually," he said.

Irish Independent

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