More and more of Cork’s senior hurling championship games will be televised on Sky Sports if something isn’t done, fears Senator Tim Lombard.
Like their other two SHC games this summer, Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin will shown by the pay-per-view company. All three of their championship games last year were also broadcasted live by Sky, although to reflect the lockdown situation in 2020 the company made them available to those without a Sky Sports subscription.
Fine Gael senator Lombard, a former chairman of senior manager Kieran Kingston’s club Tracton, remarked: “It’s hard to believe that another Cork game won’t be televised on the national broadcaster. It calls into question the entire ethos of the GAA. It is appalling that there are those who don’t have the option of getting a ticket are unable to watch it at home. It is a thundering disgrace.
“There is a commercial benefit for Sky to pick up the Cork audience. That’s becoming a real matter of fact. If this was another county, you wouldn’t have the same draw. Because of Cork’s size and population, Sky know it is worth it going into your local pub or sitting room.
“Unless we do something about it, we’re going to be stuck in a bigger county scenario where we won’t get to see our local county team playing on RTÉ. It’s beyond belief at this stage. We have had a torrid 18 months, Cork as much as everyone else needs a lift. There is a cohort of older people who are GAA supporters totally disenfranchised by this commercial decision that has left the grassroots reeling.”
Independent TD for Clare Michael McNamara and the county’s Fianna Fáil senator Timmy Dooley have called on the GAA to make championship games free-to-air. The organisation’s current media rights agreements lapse at the end of next year.