Wednesday 11 December 2019

Just imagine what these sports visionaries could do to transform Gaelic games

Sky's coverage of Gaelic games could broaden the the market to a worldwide audience
Sky's coverage of Gaelic games could broaden the the market to a worldwide audience

Colm Parkinson

Sky's coverage and marketing of soccer, rugby, darts and golf, among others, has transformed and glamorised those sports beyond recognition.

Darts is now a massively popular mainstream sport. The BBC's tired and lazy darts coverage is in stark contrast to Sky's innovative and exciting presentations.

The Premier League is seen by many as the best football league in the world, despite the best teams and players playing in other leagues. The Heineken Cup's popularity has grown exponentially with the help of Sky TV.

Many GAA fans who watched RTE's 'League Sunday' programme last weekend, and throughout the hurling and football leagues, have often found themselves disappointed to only see highlights of games already shown on TG4 and Setanta that weekend.

Imagine what Sky could now do for the GAA. Down the line, wouldn't it be great to see Sky get rights to the ailing National Leagues. Would the attitude that 'it's only the league' exist if Sky's marketing team kicked into action?

I believe Gaelic games are the best, most skilful, exciting games in the world. Why limit the coverage to terrestrial television when Sky can broaden the market to a worldwide audience.

There has always been opposition to change within the GAA. Propositions like opening Croke Park to rugby and soccer, the qualifiers and most recently, the black card, have all met with strong resistance, but have proved successful. When it comes to sport in the 21st century, if you want the best coverage then you have to pay for it. I'm excited to see what Sky might bring to the table – how they will market our games, their ideas for the live games, potential highlights shows, presenters and what pundits they will use.

By the way, you can get me at 11/4 in Paddy Power to be a Sky pundit – but that obviously hasn't influenced my support for Sky's fantastic coverage!

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