There were mixed emotions when GAA has confirmed details of its live TV and radio broadcast rights to cover the period 2014-2017. But if the organisation wants to move forward this is a great way to achieve their goal.
The 31 championship games to be televised by RTÉ include the All-Ireland finals and semi-finals in both codes, the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals, and two of the four All-Ireland football quarter-finals.Within Ireland, a total of 45 provincial and All-Ireland championship matches will be broadcast live on television annually for the next three years: a total of 31 games will be shown by RTÉ (as per the last contract) and 14 by Sky Sports.
RTÉ have also secured the rights to all six Provincial championship finals, while the remainder of the 31 games to be shown live on RTÉ are a mixture of provincial championship and qualifier games. Ulster championship games covered by RTÉ, including the Provincial football final, will also be broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland.
Sky Sports has obtained exclusive Island of Ireland rights to 14 championship games.
These consist of eight Saturday evening matches in the All-Ireland qualifiers, two All-Ireland football championship quarter-finals, and two Saturday evening and two Sunday provincial championship games. In addition to these 14 games, Sky Sports will also broadcast live the All-Ireland hurling and football semi-finals and finals, thus making 20 live games available to its subscribers throughout Britain and Ireland.
All games broadcast on Sky and the majority on RTÉ will be shown in HD.
The GAA’s commitment to the support of the Irish language is reflected in TG4’s retention of Sunday afternoon Allianz League matches. TG4 has also been awarded coverage of the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor finals, bringing them back to Croke Park on the GAA’s two biggest days, and will again cover AIB Club Championships, the Irish Daily Mail Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups, Masita All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools competitions, the Cadbury U21 Football Championship, Bord Gáis Energy U21 Hurling Championship and county finals. It is anticipated that TG4 will again cover 62 live and 22 deferred games in each of the three years. Setanta Sports will continue to broadcast Saturday evening Allianz Leagues games.
While the award of domestic TV broadcast rights will see over 90 live games shown free-to-air within Ireland in each of the next three years, the GAA has also delivered on its promise to address access to its major games for those living outside of Ireland. In addition to Sky Sports providing exclusive live coverage of 20 championship matches in Britain, in a major new departure, Channel 7 will show all 45 live championship games free to air in Australia.
A further exciting expansion of coverage for Irish people living abroad is reflected in a new online streaming service – a joint venture between the GAA and RTÉ Digital – which will allow supporters living in the U.S and worldwide access to all games televised live in Ireland via the internet on PC, desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones and other connected devices.
These new arrangements will provide vastly improved access to our games throughout the world, thus allowing the GAA to meet its commitment to make its games more widely available to Irish people living outside of Ireland.
Radio coverage of GAA games remains with RTÉ and Newstalk, while Raidió na Gaeltachta will continue to broadcast both league and championship games trí Gaeilge. Today FM continue to provide score flash updates. In addition, the GAA intends to renew its successful local radio partnership with the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) in the coming weeks.
Liam Ó Néill, Uachtarán
“We are pleased to confirm arrangements for the broadcast of our games for the next three years, particularly as we believe that they represent an exciting development for the Association.”
“Making our games more widely available to Irish people abroad was a critical factor in our approach to these negotiations. We felt an obligation to them not to neglect their legitimate appeals to be able to watch live TV coverage of our games. We are also glad that this brings the quality and excitement of our games to a wider international audience. Gaelic games are national games played in a small country, and which must compete for audience loyalty with the hugely powerful sporting and marketing resources of international sports. The GAA has to fight its corner, and must ensure that it maintains a strong presence across a range of media outlets so that we can continue to fund our clubs in the important sporting, cultural and social roles they perform in their communities. ”
JD Buckley, Managing Director, Sky Ireland said
“It’s a privilege to be partnering with the GAA to bring our customers top quality content from our national games. We are committed to providing the best programming, service and value to our customers and Sky Sports will offer world class production values and a great viewing experience to GAA fans across the country. This marks another milestone in our continued investment in Ireland to better satisfy our customers”
Managing Director of Sky Sports Barney Francis said: “We’re delighted to be awarded the rights and I’m sure our viewers will be captivated by the thrill and passion of Gaelic Football and Hurling. We are excited to be working with the GAA and providing extensive coverage to their exhilarating sports throughout the summer. These matches will join a great line-up of year-round Irish sport on Sky Sports.”
Páraic Ó Dufaigh, Director General of the GAA said: “In the negotiation of these rights, the GAA was guided by a wish to drive the promotion of Gaelic games and we believe the new rights’ contracts will provide Gaelic games with their widest-ever global audience reach.
“We look forward to working with all of our broadcast partners in television and radio, and are enthused by the prospect of having our games presented to the highest standards of sports’ broadcasting. We welcome our new partnership with Sky Sports and firmly believe that their coverage of our games will bring a new excitement to our championships.”
GAA fans with a Sky Sports subscription can watch live on TV, online and on mobile and tablet devices via Sky Go or the award-winning Sky Sports for iPad app, which are both free for subscribers to download at no extra cost. Non-subscribers can also watch these games on mobile, by downloading the Sky Sports TV app where they can receive all 6 Sky Sports channels for €13.99 per month.
The matches will also be available on Sky Sports in thousands of commercial premises across the country. As part of the agreement, Sky is working on a special offer for all GAA clubs across the country which will make Sky Sports available in their clubhouses at a discounted rate.
Sky is investing over €1 billion in Ireland in 5 years. This includes an investment in people, as the business now employs almost 1,000 people in Ireland, and products and services including HD, 3D, On Demand, broadband and the brand new EPG. Sky’s increasing investment in homegrown content includes the Emmy award winning Moone Boy, Moonfleet (filmed in Dublin last Summer) and Penny Dreadful starring Josh Harnett and Timothy Dalton which has just finished filming in Dublin and Wicklow) .The business also makes a broader contribution with initiatives in Ireland including Sky Sports Living For Sport, which uses sports stars and sports skills to improve the lives of students in secondary schools and Sky Arts Ignition which supports specific Irish arts projects.
SKY SPORTS LIVE BROADCASTS
Provincial Championship Games
June 7th - Kilkenny v Offaly LSHC
June 14th - Dublin v Wexford LSHC
June 21st - Sligo v Galway/London CSFC
June 28th - Armagh/Cavan v Down/Tyrone/Monaghan (USFC)
July 5th - Game D qualifiers
July 12th - Game F Qualifiers
July 19th - Games I and J
July 26th - Games G and H
August 2nd - Games K and L
All Ireland Series
August 9th – 2 x Football Quarter Finals (Leinster and Ulster)
All Ireland Finals and Semi Finals
All Ireland Senior Football Championship Final
All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final
2 x All Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-Finals
2 x All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Finals
+ Midweek highlights programme