Friday 6 December 2019

More than 1.5m watch epic hurling final here and in the UK

Sky Sports GAA presenters Rachel Wyse and Jamesie O’Connor.
Sky Sports GAA presenters Rachel Wyse and Jamesie O’Connor.
Action from Sunday's All-ireland hurling final
Sky's Rachel Wyse

Colm Keys and Sam Griffin

More than 1.5m people across Ireland and the UK tuned into Sunday's epic All-Ireland final, with some 427,000 viewers in Britain enjoying the action on Sky Sports for the first time.

The cross-channel figure has never been made public since the GAA and Sky Sports entered a three year deal in April - a move which caused controversy among elements of the GAA membership.

The average UK audience for the game, considered by many to be the greates t ever hurling match, was 101,000. But the figures did not include viewers who may have watched Tipperary and Kilkenny draw an All-Ireland final for the first time using the Sky Go service, or online.

Some 784,000 viewers here tuned in to watch Sunday's game on RTE Two, according to an RTE spokesperson with a reach of over 1.1m.

But the massive audience amassed by Sky, helped largely by the match being broadcast on Sky Sports 1 instead of Sky Sports 3, in the first year will come as huge satisfaction for both the GAA and the commercial broadcaster.

Sky put together a new team to help bring the GAA to Irish emigrants in Britain and lure in a potentially massive audience of British sports fans.

The line-up includes presenter and Irish Independent columnist Rac hel Wyse as well as former Rugby league ace Brian Carney as well and hurling legends Jamesie O'Connor and co-commentator, Nicky English.

Last night, Ms Wyse said the whole team was delighted with the audience figures and was proof of the growing interest in GAA in the UK.

"It's lovely that people are tuning in and watching the show and as we've gone along, the viewing figures are rising and growing all the time which is hopefully a testament to what we're putting together week in, week out. It's a huge team effort," she told the Irish Independent.

She added that she knew there was an appetite for our national games from the very throw-in.

"As soon as we saw the initial reaction to the first few games, we knew this was something that was going to catch on. People were fascinated by it and a lot of people have been coming up to us at the games," she said.

Sky Sports is also expected to broadcast the replay live on Saturday, September 27 despite it clashing with two other big events.

The game will take place on a Saturday, as the TG4 Ladies' football finals are fixed for the Sunday, September 28.

The GAA have announced the now customary cut in ticket prices for the replay. Stand tickets normally priced at €80 can be purchased for €50 with terrace tickets available for €25.

Children's tickets will be €10. It is the third consecutive year that the GAA has dropped the price of tickets for its All-Ireland hurling final replay.

Tickets went on general sale for Sunday's game at the end of last week as not all had been taken up by clubs. But the quality of Sunday's final is likely to ensure a sell-out at HQ.

Irish Independent

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