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GAA looks at possibility of showing matches on internet

THE GAA is considering expanding its television coverage of Gaelic games.

This may take the form of an internet-based channel that relies on subscriptions, but they have not ruled out the possibility of negotiating with Sky TV in trying to secure a dedicated channel for Gaelic games.

With the diaspora in America and Australia growing due to ongoing emigration, this could prove to be a means of catering for those abroad as well as home.

The news will also create some alarm at RTE and TV3.

The current broadcast deals are due to run out at the end of the National League in 2014 and this development certainly leaves the GAA in a position of strength when it comes to sitting down around the negotiation table.

Coverage of the GAA on RTE in particular has left many divided on what their responsibilities are to the GAA.

The coverage given to Joe Brolly's reaction to Sean Cavanagh's by-now infamous tackle on Conor McManus in Tyrone's football quarter-final against Monaghan led to RTE being in the centre of a media storm.

While RTE may have been pleased with the level of coverage they received, there are those that feel lines were being crossed with virulent criticism of players that retain an amateur status.


Another area of concern for RTE might be the possibility of a theoretical GAA TV channel poaching advertisers from the 'The Sunday Game'.

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A Croke Park insider has told the Irish Independent that all options are on the table, though they have not entered the feasibility study stage yet.

However, the GAA would still be obliged to offer coverage on terrestrial television as part of its overall package and grassroots members would be adamant that this would be maintained for the big matches.

TV3 and RTE said they were not in a position to comment last night.

Last night a spokesman for the GAA said that "negotiations haven't started" on the new broadcasting deal.

The current three-year deal is due to end very shortly, at which point "everything is on the table".

"We'll examine internally what we feel is best for ourselves before we speak to anybody," he said.

"We haven't reached that juncture yet."

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