Live coverage of the provincial senior football championships is likely to be severely dented by the introduction of the Super 8 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final stages and the reformatting of the provincial senior hurling competitions as round robins.
The Irish Examiner has learned the Munster senior football final is expected to be the only game televised live in the competition, while according to an Irish Times report yesterday there are plans to show just one Ulster semi-final and final live on RTÉ, a drop of five from last year when all but one of that provincial championship was shown live.
The Galway-Mayo Connacht SFC quarter-final is scheduled to be shown on RTÉ and there is the possibility of another two Connacht matches being broadcast live.
Dublin are expected to reach an eighth straight Leinster final and with that in mind there should be at least three Leinster matches shown live including the All-Ireland champions’ opener against Offaly or Wicklow on May 26 or 27.
As both RTÉ and Sky Sports are intent on showing the 12 Super 8 matches, six apiece, they have banked a large portion of their allocations until the start of that phase in July. The increase in the number of games in the Leinster and Munster SHCs, in the case of latter a jump of four games to 11, has also compelled them to direct their focus away from the provincial football championships.
Last summer, there were 16 provincial football games shown live, which amount to 14 of RTÉ’s total exclusive championship rights allocation of 25 including the four finals and two of Sky Sports’ standalone allocation of 14, the Dublin-Carlow Leinster quarter-final and the province’s semi-final involving Kildare and Meath.
That number could be as low as nine this time around.
In 2017, RTÉ took the decision to show the Munster SFC semi-final between Cork and Tipperary as well as the final. It was the first time since 2013 that two matches in the competition had been televised live.
RTÉ’s focus on the Leinster and Munster SHCs and the Super 8 has major repercussions for BBC Northern Ireland who have broadcasted all of the Ulster SFC games shown live by RTÉ, with whom they have a rights agreement.
The GAA have spoken about their intention to live stream games where RTÉ and Sky Sports are unable because of contractual agreements.
BBC Northern Ireland are in negotiations with RTÉ at the moment to organise arrangements so that they can show more than two Ulster SFC games be they deferred or on the BBC iPlayer.
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