GAA President - 'There is no automatic right for everybody to see every game'

The GAA’s new media rights deal is set to be soon announced.

The media rights deal is
The media rights deal is
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

WITH THE GAA in the process of putting together a new TV rights package, the association’s president Aogán Ó Fearghail insists ‘there is no automatic right for everybody to see every game’.

The entry of Sky Sports into the GAA broadcasting arena for the start of the 2014 season prompted huge debate.

The current three-year deal is set to end at the conclusion of this year’s championships. It has seen RTÉ have 25 exclusive games, Sky Sports have 14 exclusive games and both stations show six games (the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals) simultaneously.

Much of the focus surrounding the current package is on the Sky involvement with the issue cropping up again this summer as four of Mayo’s six senior football championship games have been shown on the station rather than a free-to-air serivce.

“I have said this before, I’ll say it again, there is no such thing as a Sky deal, there’s a media deal, and the big winners in the last deal certainly were RTE,” insists Ó Fearghail, speaking in Thurles at yesterday’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling final launch.

“There is no automatic right for everybody to see every game. That’s the other thing.

“Our biggest thing is always to make sure that people are at a match. Without the attendances we have difficulty, so there is no automatic right for anyone to see every single game.

“We used to have many more live games. Originally, as you know, better than I do, nothing was on live television except an All-Ireland semi-final and a final. That’s not that many years ago.”

Gavin Cooney
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We have to always make sure that we can have as many games as possible where people can see them, but that’s the environment that we work within. So, there is no conclusion, no finality yet to the next deal.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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