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Newstalk question RTÉ's use of state funding to win exclusive GAA radio rights

The new deal which lasts until 2022 sees Newstalk lose out.

Newstalk have lost live commentary rights.
Newstalk have lost live commentary rights.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

NEWSTALK HAVE QUESTIONED RTÉ’s use of state funding to win the full radio commentary rights in the new GAA media deal.

The GAA today confirmed the details of their new deal, which will last from 2017 to 2022.

Newstalk, who first secured the rights to live GAA commentary in 2011, have lost live commentary of GAA championship matches and will instead be restricted to live flash score rights.

In a statement released this evening, Newstalk sports editor Adrian Barry responded to today’s announcement and expressed their disappointment at the news.

“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.

State Funding

“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.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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