The streaming of games is becoming more of a consideration for the likes of the GAA but the chief of one of Ireland’s leading sports production houses remains focused on the return of live action on TV.
As Croke Park have encouraged county boards to consider streaming pay-per-view games in the event little or no crowds can be permitted at them later this year, Nemeton chief executive Irial Mac Murchú says the award-winning company are open to providing streaming services yet they are aiming towards producing live game programmes later in the year.
“We’ve streamed games for the likes of TG4 and Electric Ireland and it’s the high end of the market that we work on. If work does transpire, then all well and good but I don’t know how it’s going to develop. We will welcome the calls if they come. Our real focus is hoping games resume and we can get back to TV production.”
Going back to 1996, An Rinn-based Nemeton have produced almost all of TG4’s live sports output and, as media rights holders, TG4 and RTÉ will be keen to show matches.
“The loss of GAA to broadcasters is huge because it is a significant share of their summer audience,” remarked Mac Murchú. “Everybody is at a loss because of this pandemic. It’s not just us, it’s the broadcasters, it’s the sports organisations themselves. The county boards must be at a huge loss themselves because there are no gate receipts and no sponsors and it’s a huge loss to the sponsors too.”
After seeing work with several clients “melt away” as a result of the lockdown, Nemeton kept things going with a number of commissions. When live sport is back up and running, they will be ready, Mac Murchú assures.
“The first few weeks of the pandemic were fairly shaky, to be honest. But pretty soon we knuckled down and looked around to see what we could actually do and we have continued to do some work for the likes of the GAA, which we are grateful for.
We’ll be right back in there when live sport returns. We have successfully kept our core team and they are really excellent at what they do. We also have an army of freelancers who work with us on weekends and they’ll be good to go. They haven’t been working since the pandemic struck but we will get them up to speed very quickly.
“We have great partner companies like TVM near Fermoy who supply us with technology and technical crew and our relationship with them can be ramped up speedily too.
“We’ll be able to take this hit and there will be no lasting damage assuming things come back at some point. I don’t think we’ll get back to service as normal again but we’ll be ready for the new normal whatever that looks like.”
Although the GAA have stressed there is currently no appetite for behind closed doors Championship games, they have not ruled them out. In such an event, more games might be broadcast or streamed.
“We’re a live sports production company and we will happily oblige with as many live matches that we can manage to get on television,” Mac Murchú said. “You have to bear in mind broadcasters only have so much space in their schedules but for us it’s a case of have the skills, have the capacity, will broadcast.”