Former GAA President claims new Sky Sports deal is the reality of the GAA's future

Sean Kelly was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast

Former GAA President claims new Sky Sports deal is the reality of the GAA's future

Former GAA President Sean Kelly. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Andrew Paton

It looks like Sky Sports are set to renew their coverage of the GAA Championship for another five years, up to and including the 2021 Championship.

Sky Sports began their coverage of both hurling and football in 2014 on a three-year deal. The British channel replaced TV3 as RTE's partner in showing live coverage of the matches. Over the course of the three-year deal Sky showed 14 games exclusively each year, including two All-Ireland football quarter-finals.

Reports in the Irish Independent on Wednesday morning, claimed that the GAA were to earn around €55million from the five-year deal. Although not confirmed, Sky will be expected to keep at least 14 live matches exclusively each season.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Ireland South MEP and former GAA President Sean Kelly, said news of the new deal with Sky Sports was "a reality" of the direction the GAA is moving to. Kelly was "very dubious" of the deal in 2014, but feels the new five-year contract will give the GAA a better chance to see the workings of the association with Sky Sports.

"There will be people who will be upset, because when it comes to Championship time, there will be some games involving their county which they will not be able to see, live on tv. That's a pity, but I suppose a reality."

Opening the game to foreign audiences, was one of the cited reasons for the original Sky Sports deal, and Kelly feels that will continue in the coming five years.

"It's a genuine argument, that you will be opening it up to a new audience. People who wouldn't go to the pub to watch, who wouldn't know about it, but would see it on television."

News of the the new broadcast deal should be confirmed in the coming weeks.