MORE than half of Irish business owners agree with Communications Minister Eamon Ryan that some sporting events -- such as Ireland's involvement in next year's Six Nations -- should be designated free-to-air, and not go up on the TV rights market.
While events like the GAA Football and Hurling Championships are already free-to-air only, rights for Ireland's Six Nations matches are purchased by RTE on the open market.
Designating Irish rugby matches as free-to-air would certainly reduce the State broadcaster's bill -- but the IRFU has argued that such a move would be "seriously misguided" and leave them unable to pay players and support clubs.
The IRFU currently receives €15m for the broadcast rights to international and provincial matches. The Department of Communications put out a tender in July, for a consultant to report on the matter to the Minister.