Sky Sports and eir deals set in stone until at least 2021

Leitrim and Roscommon’s motion calling for the GAA not to renew their broadcasting deals with Sky Sports and eir won’t be considered until the current contracts conclude in 2021.

The counties have been informed that their proposal, which each of their county conventions backed before Christmas, will not be on the Clár of Annual Congress in Dublin later this month.

County officials were last weekend briefed on the motions going forward for debate. Those motions will be revealed after a press briefing today.

Leitrim and Roscommon clubs St Mary’s, Kiltoghert and Boyle had recommended that “the GAA will not allow continued exclusive TV coverage for any games to any subscription channel, after the current contract expires. In future, all proposed GAA match TV coverage will be made available via free to air”.

However, it has been decided that such a proposal would not be entertained in what is, for the Sky Sports contract at least, only the second year of the current agreement.

Reacting to the news, Leitrim chairman Terence Boyle said: “It’s under contract so it’s understandable. I explained at the time that it might not make the Clár but the fact that it is noted going forward is good.

“It’s not the first time it has come up and there is a strong feeling out there about it. I expect it will get serious consideration the next time it comes around when the next packages are decided.”

Clare have previously tabled a motion about matches not being available free-to-air and chairman Joe Cooney said the opposing sentiment in the county towards pay-per-view matches remains the same.

“I don’t know what matches are going to be on Sky this year but my belief is, and always has been, that everyone should be allowed to watch games in their own home and they shouldn’t be exclusive to Sky. I know there is revenue generated from it and counties benefit and it’s much appreciated but for elderly people (who don’t have Sky) it’s not right and it’s not for the good of the game in that sense.”

Last week, Irish Examiner columnist Paul Rouse along with former Wexford hurler Diarmuid Lyng and RTÉ Gaelic football and hurling pundits Joe Brolly and Michael Duignan began a campaign compelling the incoming GAA director general to “remove the pay-per-view model from GAA games”.

As of yesterday afternoon, their online petition had received 1,612 signatures.

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