Kerry GAA chiefs rejected request to broadcast football final

Kerry GAA chiefs rejected request to broadcast football final
File photo of Austin Stack Park

Kerry GAA officials decided not to allow TV coverage of their County SFC final over concerns about the impact on the attendance.

The Kingdom's county board declined a request by TG4 to broadcast the final between Dr Crokes and East Kerry on Sunday because of the detrimental effect live coverage of their quarter-finals had on crowds at Austin Stack Park last month.

That Saturday-night double-header, which saw St Brendan’s defeat Killarney Legion and East Kerry knock out Dingle, was broadcast live on RTÉ 2.

The board estimate that caused a 35% reduction in attendance compared to equivalent quarter-finals in previous years, and didn't want to risk a similar fall-off in crowds and resulting income for the final.

"We decided as a board that we wouldn't televise it," said Kerry GAA chairman Tim Murphy.

"Normally, it would be deferred coverage that they [TG4] would have done in the past but this year, we televised two of the quarter-final matches on RTÉ. Both those games were televised live on the Saturday night and the actual attendance was affected fairly dramatically relative to previous years of quarter-final stages.

"We looked at it overall and the county final is one of the main sources of income for the board every year so, on balance, we felt that having televised two of the quarter-finals, which we wouldn't have done in previous years, we made a decision that we thought the attendance would be affected too much for the final."

Murphy says the board also ruled out deferred coverage of the final as that, too, would've affected crowd numbers, which he hopes will exceed 10,000 at Austin Stack Park, Tralee (3pm throw-in).

"No, normally it would only have been the final that you'd consider but the fact that we had televised the quarter-finals, we couldn't risk a situation where our attendance probably would be dramatically affected by even deferred coverage."

The decision doesn't represent a set policy for future finals, according to Murphy, but reflects the loss absorbed from the prior TV coverage this year.

"We'll review it. This is the first year we've ever televised a quarter-final so we're just looking at it in an overall scale and that was the reason. No more, no less than that."

It comes after TG4 chiefs denied our report yesterday they "prioritised" broadcasting provincial club championship games ahead of the Kerry showpiece. GAA Beo bosses said they wanted to show the match but their request was declined.

A TG4 spokesperson said: "Kerry County Board declined the request from TG4 to cover Sunday's senior football championship final between Dr Crokes and East Kerry.

"We have no issue with that decision. As a result, we have opted to cover the provincial championship semi-finals in Munster and Connacht."

The Munster Club SHC semi-final between champions Ballygunner and Limerick winners Patrickswell gets top billing, with live coverage from Walsh Park starting at 1.15pm. The deferred game comes from Tuam Stadium where All-Ireland champions Corofin face Mayo kingpins Ballintubber.

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