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Sky Sports could bid for GAA championship rights

Croke Park chief Peter McKenna admits the British broadcasting giant could air hurling and Gaelic football games in the future.

Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

THE GAA’S COMMERCIAL director says Sky Sports could bid for the rights to GAA championship games in the future.

Peter McKenna said the Association would rule nothing out when they enter negotiations with rights holders.

“I wouldn’t block anything out,” McKenna told Matt Cooper on Today FM’s The Last Word programme on Friday.

“Obviously a paywall would cause some issues but we’ve been with a paywall when we’ve been with Setanta. So the leagues are behind a paywall for the Setanta coverage.”

When asked if Sky part of negotiations for the next rights deal, he added: ”We have  an open agenda on this one. What we’re charged with, is to get the best deal for the Association. That’s not necessarily the most money but it’s certainly where we’ll get the best TV coverage, exposure and marketing and push for our  games and benefit long-term.”

The prospect of the GAA establishing a production company — like NFL Films in the US — is less likely, he admits.

“It is [a possibility], but it’s very remote. Again, I don’t think that we appreciate the expertise that’s in TV3 and RTÉ and TG4 indeed. You know, with very limited resources compared to some of the bigger stations or networks, what is delivered there is exceptional. So to replicate that or to try and bring that in and do it ourselves is too big of an ask.”

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