The independent broadcaster must make do with score flash rights for the next five years as RTÉ were awarded exclusive live radio rights to SFC and SHC games, taking Newstalk’s package which included three provincial finals and three of the six All-Ireland quarter-finals.
In a statement, Newstalk sports editor Adrian Barry said they had made “a very competitive pitch” to the GAA.
He said: “Despite RTÉ continuing to benefit from 85% of the licence fee, today begs the question as to why the state broadcaster would use state funding to purchase rights for a service that was already available to the public, free of charge, via Newstalk.”
In 2011, Newstalk became the first non-RTÉ radio station to broadcast live championship action and have been regarded highly for their GAA coverage in the meantime.
As regards TV rights, it’s a case of more of the same as RTÉ (25 exclusive games) and Sky Sports (14) retain what they had in the previous agreement, with the stations having simulcast broadcasting rights for the six All- Ireland senior semi-finals and finals. Sky Sports yesterday revealed they will be showing a Munster senior hurling fixture next year.
Although there had been suggestions RTÉ were interested in league rights — they usually show no live GAA from October to May, it is believed they won all the packages they had sought going into negotiations.
They have also been guaranteed all live league radio coverage up to 2022.
TG4’s long-standing live coverage of Sunday afternoon Allianz League and club championship matches remains intact and they will continue to broadcast minor championship games. They have also kept hold of U20/U21 games and various GAA highlight packages.
Football championship associate sponsors Eir Sport have maintained their Saturday evening Allianz League tranche.
They will also be afforded the GAA’s clip rights, which the association have retained having chosen not to put them out to tender as they did before. Eir will also have access to the GAA archive, while Sky Sports will have clip access to their 14 exclusive matches.
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta will have open rights on all GAA matches across the year across all competitions from 2017 to 2022 as part of the deal.
GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail said: “The Irish language is central to the philosophy of the GAA and I’m very happy with the importance accorded to the language in these new arrangements... RnaG has rights to any match they want to broadcast, and that’s highly unusual.
“They have the right to broadcast more than 100 matches across the year across the country in all competitions, so they have open rights which is a very valuable thing. This is because we are fully behind Raidió na Gaeltachta, fully behind the Irish language, and we’re delivering on that commitment here.”