Sport Gaelic Football

Friday 29 August 2014

Sky get fans' thumbs down over GAA pay-per-view deal

EXCLUSIVE

Martin Breheny

Published 21/05/2014 | 02:30

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In attendance at the announcement of SKY SPORTS on-screen line-up for its GAA coverage are Presenters Rachel Wyse and Brian Carney, with Hurling analyst Jamesie OConnor and Football analyst Peter Canavan. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
In attendance at the announcement of SKY SPORTS on-screen line-up for its GAA coverage are Presenters Rachel Wyse and Brian Carney, with Hurling analyst Jamesie OConnor and Football analyst Peter Canavan. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

More than half the public believe that the GAA should not have done a deal with Sky Sports for exclusive coverage of 14 All-Ireland championship games this year.

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That's twice as many who support the switch to pay-per-view, while the remainder have no opinion on the issue or are prepared to wait until later in the season before making up their minds.

According to the findings of an exclusive Millward Brown poll for today's Irish Independent, 56pc consider the GAA's link-up with Sky a bad decision, while 28pc support the move.

13pc are in the 'don't know' camp, while 3pc want to see how the deal works out before making up their minds.

The main opposition to the GAA's decision to include Sky for the first time comes from those in the over-55 age bracket, where 62pc are opposed.

The 18-24 age category shows most support among those who back the deal, with 39pc in favour.

This is the first sampling of public opinion since the GAA announced in early April that Sky would replace TV3 as rights holders for the All-Ireland championships.

RTE remain the dominant rights holders with access to 31 games, including all six provincial finals, two hurling and football quarter-finals, four All-Ireland semi-finals and both finals.

Sky's 14 exclusive games include two All-Ireland football quarter-finals as well as selected provincial and qualifier games.

They will also show the All-Ireland hurling and football semi-finals and finals live on a shared basis with RTE.

The manner in which RTE responded to Sky's involvement led to a row with the GAA.

The GAA felt that the national broadcaster ambushed president Liam O'Neill and director general Paraic Duffy on news and current affairs programmes on the day of the announcement.

O'Neill later expressed his annoyance, stating that they were shocked by the treatment they got.

"Every single one of the interviews was aggressive. We didn't expect them (RTE) to be in our favour but we were looking for balance and I don't think we got it," he said.

RTE's head of current affairs, David Nally denied the charge of imbalance, claiming that the coverage was "fair and impartial and that the GAA got a very fair shake".

RTE and the GAA have since linked up to launch GAAGO, a new live streaming service which will be available all over the world.

All 45 games to be screened live by RTE and Sky will also be shown on GAAGO.

RTE began their live 'Sunday Game' series with the Tyrone-Down Ulster football championship clash last Sunday, while Sky will make their entry for the Kilkenny v Offaly Leinster hurling quarter-final tie in Nowlan Park on June 7.

Irish Independent

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