Sunday 25 February 2018

Sky deal is about money, not promoting GAA - O'Mahony

The All-Ireland finals are among the few games that can not be sold to pay-per-view TV Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
The All-Ireland finals are among the few games that can not be sold to pay-per-view TV Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ryan Nugent

THE row over GAA broadcasting rights has reignited after a bumper TV deal was announced with Sky Sports - with Newstalk hitting out at RTÉ for being awarded full radio coverage.

A new five-year TV deal covering 2017 to 2021, which will see RTÉ and Sky show 31 and 20 games respectively each year, has been agreed.

The deal which also includes TG4 and Eirsport will bring in around €60m to the GAA.

Former Mayo and Galway manager Senator John O'Mahony has hit out at the GAA for "discommoding" its elderly and rural supporters.

He said the deal is about revenue rather than promoting the games.

"The old idea of promoting the GAA doesn't really stand up and it's now about revenue," he said.

"If it's just for revenue, the danger is - maybe not with the current people involved - that down the road it will become more and more pay per view," he added.

MEP and former GAA president Sean Kelly told the Irish Independent that Sky need more time. "I didn't agree with it the last time because I felt it was making it difficult for elderly people and people maybe in hospital, they wouldn't be able to see the games," Mr Kelly said.

"If you're to try out something you'd want to give it a few years to see if it will increase participation and attendances and so forth," he added.

Meanwhile, Newstalk radio hit out at the State broadcaster after losing its rights to broadcast championship games.

"Despite RTÉ continuing to benefit from 85pc of the licence fee, today's decision begs the question as to why the State broadcaster would use State funding to purchase rights for a service that was already available to the public, free of charge, via Newstalk," a statement read.

Irish Independent

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