GAA's new media rights deal likely freezes out community and online radio

The 2022-27 deal is understood to have awarded exclusive live commentary rights to IBI members, preventing others from documenting games in real time
GAA's new media rights deal likely freezes out community and online radio

RADIO SILENCE: Community stations and social media platforms covering live club games are expected to be frozen out by the arrangement. Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The GAA’s new media rights agreement with the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) is set to have major implications for community radio and online broadcasters.

The 2022-27 deal is understood to have awarded exclusive live commentary rights to IBI members thus preventing others from documenting the games in real time.

Community stations and social media platforms covering live club games are expected to be frozen out by the arrangement.

On Wednesday, Community Radio Kilkenny City (CRKC) confirmed they must “seriously curtail” their GAA coverage with immediate effect as KCLR 96FM have been given exclusive rights.

A statement entitled “Community Radio Sidelined” from CRCC read: “Community Radio Kilkenny City will now no longer be commentating on any Kilkenny GAA games (adult or underage) nor will they be reporting live from any games that are taking place. On behalf of itself and its listenership, Community Radio Kilkenny City is extremely disappointed by the position it is placed in by the GAA/IBI agreement.

“Community Radio Kilkenny City will continue to provide extensive reports of Kilkenny GAA games on Sunday and Monday evenings, and we will also continue to provide extensive sports coverage on our other weekend sport (and music) programmes. The same level of restrictive coverage will also apply to Community Radio Kilkenny City in relation to Kilkenny intercounty games at all levels.” 

Featuring the likes of former GAA president Nickey Brennan, Pat Treacy and Barry Henriques, the station’s award-winning coverage of Gaelic games in Kilkenny is known for its breadth.

The press release continued: “It is worth noting that Community Radio Kilkenny City was often the only Kilkenny broadcast media outlet at many of those games. Community Radio Kilkenny City is proud of what it has achieved to date, and more especially as all the Sports Team work as volunteers. Community Radio Kilkenny City is fortunate also to be able to call on numerous other volunteers around Kilkenny who provide match reports on a regular basis.” 

More details of the GAA’s new media rights agreements are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. It is anticipated that RTÉ and Sky Sports will again pick up the lion’s share of live championship coverage with the national broadcaster also officially taking the Saturday night Allianz League package they claimed from Eir Sport following its discontinuation.

As previously reported, BBC are expected to pick up more live TV championship matches, while there is speculation Newstalk could secure a tranche of live championship radio rights after missing out in the last 2017-22 round.

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