Sky deal row continues as GAA President responds to criticism.
Nearly a fortnight ago on the Sunday Game, Michael Duignan invoked a nationwide response when he criticised the GAA’s partnership with Sky Sports which allowed them exclusive rights to broadcast the All Ireland Hurling Qualifier between Waterford and Kilkenny in Nowlan Park.
The two time All Ireland winner blasted the deal saying,
“The Sky deal is so wrong on so many levels. My father’s 83 years of age – a savage hurling man. Why should he have to go to a pub to watch the match? There’s enough money in the GAA. How much money do you want? How about the people that have supported the game all their lives?”
Michael Duignan has his say on the GAA selling TV rights to Sky.
Posted by The Sunday Game on Sunday, July 9, 2017
Many agreed with Duignan’s arguement accross the country, lamenting the fact that one of the best games of the year was not on free-to-air television.
However, the President of the GAA, Aogán Ó’Feargháil has issued a response to the criticism of the partnership. Speaking at the launch of the GAA All Ireland Senior Football Championships, he said,
“The media rights is about all that can go in, can go out. Do we want to go back to the day, which the GAA used to do, to pay a media provider to cover our games? Those days are all over so there is no debate. There were 30 votes at Congress against the media rights deal. The debate is over. I like debate; it is good as long as it is never nasty. The democratic process is what drives us and that process, through clubs, counties and provinces, is very comfortable with the deal at the moment.”
Ó’Feargháil’s comments may put the debate to bed for a while but there is no doubt that it will rear its head in the near future. Sky Sports have been broadcasting Gaelic Games since 2014 and under the current deal will continue to do so until at least 2021.
However, as it is widely promoted by the GAA, Nothing beats being there and there is nothing like the feel of being at the game and being able to witness these athletes in the flesh.
For now though, the row over Sky’s coverage of GAA games looks set to rumble on.