Pay-per-view stations could lose rights

Dublin’s proposal to make all Championship games available on free-to-air TV may not need two-thirds majority support at next month’s Congress to end the GAA’s exclusive rights relationship with Sky Sports.

North inner city club St Joseph’s/O’Connell Boys had their motion endorsed by December’s county convention, which would see pay-per-view stations denied exclusive SFC and SHC rights from the start of next year.

This summer, Sky Sports go into their third and final year of an agreement that provides them with sole broadcasting privileges to 13 games per championship. As it invokes the establishment of a new rule, 66.67% of delegates must vote for the motion to come into force. However, a simple majority may be enough to convince Croke Park there is a mandate prohibiting them from offering exclusive Championship rights to pay-per-view TV stations. Earlier this week, GAA director general Páraic Duffy said of the motion: “If that’s passed, that ends the argument and if it’s not passed it’ll probably end the argument as well.”

Dublin are all but certain to have support from Kerry, Clare and Donegal who in the last 13 months have all backed calls from their clubs to make the summer’s games available free-to-air.According to Duffy, the motion could damage the association’s chance of getting full value for the rights to their matches. “The issue with Sky Sports two or three years ago and making the games available, that still stands but this is a different issue,” he said at the launch of his annual report.

“We feel we don’t get enough for our games. We’re not going to go full scale pay-per-view – we’ve made that very clear. But it’s very hard to get what we believe are the value of our rights and we’re competing with organisations who are part of major international boards who negotiate on their behalf. “


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