Television broadcast deal “sidelines” many GAA fans says Rabbitte

Television broadcast deal “sidelines” many GAA fans says Rabbitte

Calls have been made for the GAA to review how it schedules games for television broadcast after Galway fans were left bitter about not being able to watch the Dublin senior hurling match.

Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte said that she has received complaints from numerous GAA fans who were angry about not being able to watch Galway v Dublin in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship last Saturday.

She said that the GAA is potentially “damaging its reputation” by letting games go without any live television coverage.

“If you weren’t lucky enough to secure a ticket to Parnell Park, you had to wait until Sunday to see highlights as neither RTÉ television nor Sky Sports carried the game live.”

“Thankfully, the game could be heard on the radio but many hurling fans have said to me that they feel there needs to be a review of how broadcasters decide what games are aired live.”

The current GAA television and radio broadcast deal lasts from 2017 – 2022, with RTÉ, Sky Sports, BBC Northern Ireland broadcasting a total of 45 games from the Hurling and Football Championships.

Anne Rabbitte said that when that deal comes up for renegotiation in 2022 the GAA must “ensure all games have a broadcast or an option for alternative platforms so fans do not miss out.”

“Both hurling and football very much form part of the fabric of our culture yet Galway fans, young and old, who wanted to watch last weekend’s match weren’t able and it left many disheartened.”

“People feel they’re being denied access to fixtures, and I’m particularly thinking of those who are unable to attend such fixtures due to ill health or older age.”

The Fianna Fáil TD added that many people already feel “alienated” by the paywall that some games are behind on television.

When people have ready access to such a wide variety of sports this risks “driving them away from the game that plays such an important role in so many towns and villages around the country”.

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