Wednesday 21 August 2019

'Why is state broadcaster using state funding to purchase rights for service already available to public?' - Newstalk question GAA deal with RTE

A general view of Croke Park
A general view of Croke Park

Harry Clarke

Newstalk have released a strong statement following the GAA's decision to award full radio rights to RTE for the football and hurling championships.

The GAA today revealed that Sky and RTE will share the live championship coverage on television for the next five years but in a blow to Newstalk, RTE were given the full radio rights to championship games, which had been shared between the stations under the previous deal.

Newstalk and Today FM were awarded score flash rights.

"We believe we made a very competitive pitch to retain our live GAA commentary rights and we are disappointed that, after six years of innovative and extensive coverage, the GAA has decided not to renew that agreement," read a statement from Newstalk today.

"Despite RTE continuing to benefit from 85% of the license fee, today’s decision begs the question as to why the state broadcaster would use state funding to purchase rights for a service that was already available to the public, free of charge, via Newstalk.

"Off the Ball produced some iconic moments this year – in addition to our full coverage of Euro 2016, the Rio Olympics and the Paralympics, we grilled Lance, toasted the Dubs and drank in another successful season of Irish rugby.

"We were delighted to renew our Premier League commentary package this year for another three seasons, we have recently broadcast live Republic of Ireland games for the first time, we continue to broadcast live Champions Cup rugby and we remain a broadcast partner of the GAA, with live score flash rights for the coming five years. Off the Ball’s listenership across seven days is at an all-time high, bring on 2017."

Meanwhile, eir Sport have expressed their delight at today's announcement.

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Aidan O’Shea was in Dublin as eir Sport announced they have extended their Allianz Leagues rights until 2022, in addition to adding GAA on demand clips for mobile and online with eir Sport also announcing access to the GAA archives to broadcast classic games.

Glen Killane, Managing Director of eir TV & eir Sport, commented; “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with the GAA. It is hugely important for our customers to know that we will continue to broadcast live GAA until 2022 and that we have grown our portfolio of GAA rights. While our immediate concentration is on bringing viewers more excellent coverage of the 2017 Allianz Leagues, we are very excited about a number of plans we have in the pipeline.

"Our goal is to offer GAA fans more choice and that will involve the use of new technologies to broadcast as much GAA related content as possible.

"Following on from our Rugby World Cup rights announcements earlier this year, this represents another milestone for Irish sport on eir Sport and we’re not finished yet.”

Read more here:

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