Croker’s no comment as GPA target new TV money deal

THE GAA’s Head of Marketing, Dermot Power, refused to be drawn yesterday on claims from the GPA that players should benefit from any new TV deals struck by the Association.

The GAA’s deal with RTÉ covering the hurling and football championships ended with the final whistle at this year’s All-Ireland football final and Croke Park is currently in the midst of renegotiating its TV contract.

With Setanta now a viable player in the Irish broadcasting market, the new deal is likely to be worth far more than the old one and GPA commercial director Donal O’Neill has been quoted this week as saying that players should be entitled to a percentage of a deal.

“I wouldn’t comment on our discussions with the GPA,” said Power. “We have had discussions with them. That hasn’t been discussed specifically as I am aware but then there are several groups discussing different things with the GPA.”

The two associations are due to meet again on Friday for commercial talks while details of the new TV deal should be made public in the next two to three months.

“Tenders are due in shortly and I don’t know what is going to happen until we open the envelopes. I would say (it will be finalised) by Christmas, either side of Christmas. These tend to be complicated.”

Meanwhile, ticket sales for Saturday’s Interprovincial hurling and football finals continue to be slow but Power has defended the decision to host the games at Croke Park with the hurling decider being played under lights for the first time.

“It’s going to be a walk-up audience. I don’t know what will turn up. Croke Park fits 80-odd thousand and a relatively reasonable crowd of 15,000 would look lost in here but that wouldn’t be a bad crowd for an Interprovincial final.”

Whether the event attracts half that remains to be seen with the absence of a Leinster team certain to have a negative impact.

“We only have about six days for this because the semi-final was only last weekend. You would like more time, to know who the finalists are a bit earlier.

“This year we are in Dublin but it is a different crowd we are after. We are looking for a lot of foreign-nationals to come along.”

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