Live TV coverage down by 20 per cent
LIVE TV coverage of the 2011 All-Ireland hurling and football championships will be down by 20pc on this year with Saturday afternoon qualifier games as the main casualties.
A total of 50 senior championship games were broadcast 'live' this year, but it will be reduced to 40 next season with RTE screening 31 and nine going to TV3. The All-Ireland minor finals will switch from RTE to TV3.
Fewer 'live' games will probably mean a reduction in the fees paid by the TV companies, but the GAA declined to comment on the amount involved. The director-general, Paraic Duffy, said they were extremely happy with the financial deal for the next three years, which also sees Newstalk coming aboard for commentary of second choice games with RTE retaining the main game.
The GAA earned €10.7m from media coverage in 2009, most of which would have come from the provincial and All-Ireland championships.
The decision to reduce the number of 'live' games arises from concerns of over-exposure in recent years. Six games were shown on some weekends this year, resulting in complaints from county boards that attendances at club fixtures were being hit by TV coverage.
"We felt we were overdoing the 'live' coverage. By showing three games some days, we were encouraging people to stay at home and watch games on TV. As well, club fixtures were being hit so we decided to trim things back," said Duffy.
Precise details of where the cutbacks will apply have yet to be finalised, but it's likely to be Saturday qualifier ties.
Under the new arrangement, which will be in operation until 2013, RTE will show 31 senior championship games, including the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals. TV3 will screen nine championship games -- three provincial finals, two All-Ireland quarter-finals, as well as both All-Ireland minor finals.
TG4 will screen National League games on Sundays with Setanta retaining the rights to Saturday night league games. TG4 will also screen club and college games and the U-21 championships.
Newstalk have come aboard for the first time, sharing the radio broadcast coverage with RTE, although the national station will have first call on which game they cover. It means that for the first time the public will have a choice of championship games on radio.