RTÉ HAS THIS afternoon announced the appointment of Declan McBennett as its new head of sport to succeed Ryle Nugent, who is leaving the national broadcaster after 24 years.
Nugent, who is best known as the broadcaster’s lead rugby commentator, announced in February that he will depart RTÉ on 1 June.
The position will be filled by McBennett, who is currently managing editor of live and continuous news in Montrose and holds vast experience across both RTÉ’s news and sports departments.
RTÉ is currently preparing to show live coverage of this summer’s World Cup, but McBennett’s appointment comes at a difficult time for the broadcaster in the sports rights market.
Under Nugent’s tenure, RTÉ lost several high-profile sports events from its portfolio, including the rights to the Six Nations championship for a period of four years from 2018 until 2021, which were acquired by TV3.
Speaking after today’s announcement, McBennett said he looks forward to ensuring RTÉ continues to provide ‘quality coverage’ to an Irish audience.
“I very much look forward to working with the RTÉ Sports team and with all of the sporting organisations RTÉ partners with to ensure that quality coverage of our national teams and national games is delivered to the Irish audience,” he said.
“I’m delighted to be taking up the role as we head into a fantastic summer of sport with the GAA championships, the 2018 Fifa World Cup and the European Championships 2018.”
RTÉ director of content, Jim Jennings, added: “Declan has always shown his absolute commitment to public service media with a proven track record in delivering quality and trusted content to the audience.
“In a fiercely competitive sports market, I have no doubt that Declan will lead the RTÉ Sport team to further develop and evolve the quality sports coverage that Irish audiences turn to their national public service broadcaster for.”
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