The GAA will continue to sell rights to pay TV channels

Delegates at GAA Congress in Carlow today
Delegates at GAA Congress in Carlow today

The GAA will continue to deal with pay-per-view TV channels for championship coverage, following a decision taken by Congress.

An overwhelming (85-15 per cent) of delegates voted to maintain the status quo, allowing GAA negotiators to deal with all TV channels, including pay-per-view.

Dublin wanted a rule introduced so that all televised games were made  available to free-to-air channels, thereby effectively ending the relationship with Sky after the current deal expires this year.

Dublin argued that dealing with subscription channels seriously impacted on supporters who could not afford to pay. They were supported by Donegal,who claimed that since the GAA had a voluntary ethos, televised games should be available free-of-charge to all members.

Cavan, Cork, Galway and Longford led opposition to the proposal, citing the disadvantages of ruling out any TV channel when it came to negotiations.

Former President, Nickey Brennan said that from a commercial viewpoint, it would be crazy to exclude any channel and was supported by GPA representative, Dermot Earley.

He urged delegated to leave it to the GAA’s leadership to handle all television deals.

TV rights for 2017-2019 will be negotiated later this year. Under the existing agreement, RTE have exclusive access to 31 ‘live’ championship games while Sky have 14 games.