Friday 24 November 2017

RTE bashed over GAA coverage

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

RTE is in for a December bashing at GAA county conventions arising from the reduction in the number of games to be screened next year.

The national station will show 31 championship games live in 2011, with TV3 screening a further nine.

That's an overall drop of 10 in a move brought about by the GAA, who felt that the amount of live coverage in recent years had a negative impact on attendances at some games and on club fixtures.

While there's general acceptance that the championships are well covered by TV, complaints have arisen over RTE's approach to Gaelic games other than in the summer-autumn period.

Dublin CEO John Costello is the latest to attack RTE, claiming that hurling and football are "slipping down the decision-makers' list of priorities when it comes to scheduling".

Costello claims that, by 2013, RTE will show more live League of Ireland soccer action than Gaelic games.

"RTE screened 18 domestic soccer games this year, a figure that is set to increase to 33 by 2013. Likewise, rugby will eclipse Gaelic games in terms of live coverage, with our national broadcaster contracted to show Six Nations, autumn Tests as well as All-Ireland and Magners League," writes Costello in his annual report.

"The attitude towards Gaelic games in Montrose seems to be that our national games are only played during the months of June, July, August and September."

Costello is particularly critical of RTE's failure to carry a preview-style programme throughout the season.

He accepts that it was a Croke Park decision to cut back on live championship coverage, but argues that RTE is not giving Gaelic games due attention for the rest of the year.

"I am aware of recent comments by the Ard Stiurthoir (Paraic Duffy) that the GAA were overdoing the live coverage. However, it's my contention that GAA supporters are not getting a fair deal from the national broadcaster."

RTE's live GAA coverage is confined to the championships, which they share (on a majority basis) with TV3. TG4 and Setanta share National League coverage, while TG4 also have the club championships and the International Rules series.

Irish Independent

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