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Sky eyes All-Ireland deal with GAA

GAA fans might be in for TV subscription charges for viewing of some of this year's All- Ireland championship games.

It is reported that Sky Sports are at an advanced state of negotiations with Croke Park.

The move would see the broadcaster enter the GAA market as part of an overall deal featuring a range of broadcasters.

However, RTE will continue as the main rights holder.

Several other stations, including Sky, are believed to be interested in getting a slice of the market.

It's understood that negotiations have taken place under which the Sky package would feature up to 10 games, including two All-Ireland quarter-finals. It's unclear whether Sky's bid is in conjunction with another broadcaster.

Awarding Sky exclusive rights to a particular package could spark anger among the GAA public as it would leave them facing subscription charges.

GAA president Liam O' Neill declined to comment on Sky's possible involvement in the new television deal.


"There's a process going on at the moment and to speak about it would be unfair to those involved. It's tied up in a legal process.

"The process is nearing completion and we look forward to an announcement as soon as we possibly can," he said.

There's already disquiet among GAA fans over the deal with Setanta – a subscription channel for many people – to show Saturday night Allianz League games.

There would be much more opposition to granting TV rights for championship games to subscription channels.

However, the GAA are keen to exploit their prime product to the maximum – hence the interest in Sky who have a proven record in promoting the sports they cover.

The GAA are also keen to broaden the international dimension of their coverage.

The last TV deal is understood to be worth around €10m per annum to the GAA, but market analysts believe that figure could be increased significantly if a wider overseas audience was reached.

RTE, TV3 and BBC were the main rights holders under the last agreement.