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GPA welcomes Sky Sports deal but cautions against exploitation of players' images

Spokesperson Sean Potts is pleased that international coverage of GAA is set to increase but notes it is ‘regrettable’ that TV3 lost out on broadcasting rights.

GAA director general Páraic Duffy, right, and JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland at Croke Park.
GAA director general Páraic Duffy, right, and JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland at Croke Park.
Image: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

THE GAELIC PLAYERS ASSOCIATION has ‘broadly welcomed’ the new GAA television rights deal, which, for the first time, includes a piece of the broadcasting pie for Sky Sports.

While the GPA’s statement is generally positive it has warned that players’ amateur status continues to mean they have no contractual obligations to rights holders.

GPA spokesperson Sean Potts commented, ”We’re happy overall that it’s a strong deal for the association. We didn’t play any part in the negotiations ourselves but like any previous rights deals, people need to be acutely aware that our players are amateurs and not contractually obliged to right holders.

It’s important then to see what would be expected of them. We’ll be keeping an eye on that as we had issues in the past with right holders in relation to the images of players being exploited. Whatever arrangements exist in the professional sports market, don’t exist here. That’s one rider we’d put on it.”

“Any new deal that would increase exposure of both games and of players would be welcomed. This announcement is very much in that vein. We’d feel that the entire package is a positive move.”

The GPA expressed its satisfaction that the new deal, announced on Tuesday, will lead to an increased international exposure for both football and hurling. Potts said, “We’ve been doing that ourselves in the GPA in trying to develop awareness of the games. This is a step towards developing that further.

“There are hopes for a TV network taking on the broadcast of the games in the United States. But that is going to be an incremental process and this is a step in that direction.”

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He continued, “The GAA are taking strong steps to safeguard the future of the games. I know they are played worldwide but this will strengthen it more in terms of promotion and exposure.”

Potts added it was “regrettable” that TV3 lost out on broadcasting rights but is interested to see what Sky Sports bring to the table. ”With Sky,” he commented, “we’ll be interested to see how this pans out. The more competitive coverage and their knowledge of technical aspects, it can improve the games. It’s regrettable an Irish company missed out but the competition in the broadcast sector is good.”

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