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Q&A on the GAA deal with Sky

Published 02/04/2014 | 02:30

How much is the deal worth to the GAA?

The GAA took in €30m in media rights over the previous three years and it is understood that the entire package this time is worth between €1.5m to €2m more. GAA officials are adamant that the balance sheet next year will show only a "marginal" increase.

Is it a good deal for the GAA?

The increase in competition will raise standards all round. RTE have improved their coverage dramatically since TV3's arrival and more improvement is likely to follow over the next three years. If Sky can make darts look more attractive anything is possible!

Is it a good deal for Sky Sports?

That remains to be seen. Sky has a proportionately high number of subscribers in Ireland and this deal should help them to at least hold on to those who allow their subscription to lapse in the summer when the Premier League coverage ends. But is 14 exclusive games really enough to clinch deals with new customers?

Could Sky Sports corner the market in the future?

It's most unlikely. While they may eat further into RTE's control of the schedule the future will probably see a return to something like the 50 games covered under the 2008 agreement that saw TV3 come on board as rights holders for the first time. All-Ireland finals must be shown free to air in accordance with legislation while GAA director general Paraic Duffy stressed that handing over everything else to Sky in the future "won't happen".

Are TV licence holders not entitled to see all televised games?

No. It is not the tradition everyone assumes it is. It must be remembered that 20 years ago only six games were shown live on RTE, All-Ireland semi finals and finals in hurling and football. It's only 10 years since league games were shown live with Setanta's entry into the market. The 'free to air' viewer is still only losing nine games from last year.

What will GAA players make of it all?

By their reaction most are looking forward, though ironically two professional AFL players, Tadgh Kennelly and Tommy Walsh, have both raised questions about it. However, the chairman of the Gaelic Players Association Donal Og Cusack stated last night that he welcomed anything that gave greater exposure to the games.

Irish Independent

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