Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sky Sports in, TV3 out as GAA announces new broadcasting package

A general view of a television camera recording the action in a GAA game at Croke Park, Dublin.
A general view of a television camera recording the action in a GAA game at Croke Park, Dublin.

Sky Sports has secured 14 live matches as the GAA has announced details of the media rights for the next three years as TV3 loses out in the latest TV deal.

A total of 45 provincial and All-Ireland championship matches will be broadcast live on television annually for the next three years: a total of 31 games will be shown by RTÉ (as per the last contract) and 14 by Sky Sports.

TV3's six year-involvement with broadcasting comes to an end after six years and the decision to award Sky the deal has had mixed reaction among the general public.

The 31 championship games to be televised by RTÉ include the All-Ireland finals and semi-finals in both codes, the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals, and two of the four All-Ireland football quarter-finals.

RTÉ have also secured the rights to all six Provincial championship finals, while the remainder of the 31 games to be shown live on RTÉ are a mixture of provincial championship and qualifier games. Ulster championship games covered by RTÉ, including the Provincial football final, will also be broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland.

Sky Sports has obtained exclusive Island of Ireland rights to 14 championship games.

These consist of eight Saturday evening matches in the All-Ireland qualifiers, two All-Ireland football championship quarter-finals, and two Saturday evening and two Sunday provincial championship games.

In addition to these 14 games, Sky Sports will also broadcast live the All-Ireland hurling and football semi-finals and finals, thus making 20 live games available to its subscribers throughout Britain and Ireland.

“We’re delighted to be awarded the rights and I’m sure our viewers will be captivated by the thrill and passion of Gaelic Football and Hurling,”Managing Director of Sky Sports Barney Francis said.

"We are excited to be working with the GAA and providing extensive coverage to their exhilarating sports throughout the summer. These matches will join a great line-up of year-round Irish sport on Sky Sports.”

TV3 has expressed it's disappointment with the announcement of the new rights package.

"TV3 made a very commercial bid for the next three years but this appears to have been superseded by the GAA's preference for a pay television strategy," TV3's Director of Broadcasting Niall Cogley said.

Sky's first game will the Leinster Hurling Championship tie between Kilkenny and Offaly on June 7th.

All games broadcast on Sky and the majority on RTÉ will be shown in HD.

The GAA’s commitment to the support of the Irish language is reflected in TG4’s retention of Sunday afternoon Allianz League matches.

TG4 has also been awarded coverage of the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor finals, bringing them back to Croke Park on the GAA’s two biggest days, and will again cover AIB Club Championships, the Irish Daily Mail Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups, Masita All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools competitions, the Cadbury U21 Football Championship, Bord Gáis Energy U21 Hurling Championship and county finals.

It is anticipated that TG4 will again cover 62 live and 22 deferred games in each of the three years. Setanta Sports will continue to broadcast Saturday evening Allianz Leagues games.

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