Sunday 16 December 2018

RTÉ defends Donnybrook-based commentaries for 'Allianz League Sunday' games


There was no commentator for Allianz League Sunday at Salthill last weekend
There was no commentator for Allianz League Sunday at Salthill last weekend
RTÉ have no rights to any live league action but show highlights on their Sunday night programme (stock picture)
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

RTÉ have denied that the decision not to send commentators to all games that feature as the main events on their 'Allianz League Sunday' programme is down to cost-cutting.

Commentaries for some games - including tomorrow's Kilkenny v Waterford Division 1A glamour clash in Walsh Park - are done 'off-tube' in the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook.

That also applied to the Galway-Mayo football tie in Pearse Stadium last Sunday.

Sharon Brady, RTÉ's senior communications manager TV & digital, insisted that the studio-based commentaries arise from facility issues at various grounds rather than saving money.

She said that commentators were sent to grounds where there were adequate facilities to cater for various broadcasters but that did not apply everywhere.

Eir Sport have the primary rights to Saturday-night games, with TG4 holding similar rights on Sunday, when they show live and deferred games. That gives both broadcasters first call on the prime TV commentary positions.

RTÉ are the dominant partner in the All-Ireland championship rights deal, with exclusive access to 31 games, with 14 on Sky Sports.

RTÉ have no rights to any live league action but show highlights on their Sunday-night programme.

Viewers are under the impression that all the commentators are at the games but that is not the case.

The programme does not specify which game has a commentator on site and which does not.

Covering games off monitor obviously restricts commentators but RTÉ claim there is no alternative in grounds where commentary positions are restricted.

If, as they insist, it is not a cost-cutting measure, it raises issues about the suitability of many grounds.

Three league games, as well as the Corofin-Moorefield All-Ireland club football semi-final will be shown live this weekend.

TG4 will screen today's club football game in Portlaoise (2.0), while eir Sport 1 and 2 will show the Dublin-Limerick and Tipperary-Wexford hurling league games at 7.0. will show the UCD v NUIG Sigerson Cup final at 3.30 today.

The Clare v Cork NHL tie in Ennis (2.0) is TG4's live game tomorrow, followed by deferred coverage of Waterford v Kilkenny and the Monaghan v Kerry football clash in Inniskeen.

Kerry will join Dublin and Galway at the top of the Division 1 table if they beat Monaghan in a game which was postponed last Sunday because of the bad weather.

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