Commercial realities must be focus for GAA: McGinley
Paul McGinley makes a handsome living working for Sky Sports, but he disagrees with Joe Brolly's view that "a hostile takeover bid" is in the works.
Brolly took the GAA to task in a recent column, suggesting "we are f****d" if the new director-general does not "redraw the boundary between the ideals of the GAA and the commercial world".
McGinley, however, a lifelong GAA supporter who gave up the game after breaking his kneecap at 19 to concentrate on golf, believes that the organisation must face the commercial realities of modern sport and take advantage of its deal with Sky to reinvest in itself.
"Joe has another view, and I know Joe very well - I've helped him with his charities and we've had dinner together," McGinley said at Croke Park, where he spoke at the GAA Games Development Conference in partnership with Sky Sports.
"I like Joe. He's got a view and people in Ireland would have the same view that Joe does.
"But other people have a different view. I have a different view, and my view is one of sport as a commercial world, including the GAA.
"Organisations have got to raise funds in order to re-invest and stay ahead of professional bodies, like soccer and golf, who are also all pawing at the same market in terms of (attracting) young boys and girls.
"I see things in a more commercial way to Joe, but I have got to respect that he and other people would have that opinion."
Under the terms of a new deal with the GAA, Sky Sports can show 14 games a season.
"In terms of some of the matches being behind the paywall, that's the commercial reality all sports are moving in to," McGinley said.
"With the number of matches that Sky has exclusively, I don't think it is a huge debate the moment. If it ever gave way to the All-Ireland final and the semi-finals (being on Sky), I think that would be a stronger debate, but we haven't got there yet.
"At the moment the GAA receives a lot of money from Sky which is directly reinvested into growing the game and the grass roots and the stadiums.
"Every decent-sized town, no matter where you go, has got fantastic GAA facilities. That has to be funded. That has to be kept."
McGinley's attendance at the GAA Games Development Conference was organised as part of Sky Sports' commitment in supporting the GAA at grassroots level.
The broadcaster is investing €3 million over a five-year period to 2021 into three events - last Saturday's conference, the GAA Youth Forum and the GAA Super Games Centres.