There are “huge” broadcast possibilities open to the GAA after it was confirmed its nine-year broadcast deal with Sky Sports is coming to an end.
That’s according to Liam O’Neill, who was GAA president when the deal with Sky was originally signed.
It emerged last night that the Sky Sports deal was being terminated “by mutual agreement” after lengthy negotiations failed to reach a deal.
Sky Ireland CEO JD Buckley said the two sides were unable to reach an agreement despite a “strong willingness on both sides to continue our partnership”.
The GAA now hope to finalise a new five-year media rights package in the coming days – with the BBC reportedly in the running for a major expansion of its coverage.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, former GAA president Liam O’Neill said the situation has changed completely since he originally signed the Sky Sports deal.
“The possibilities are huge now for it,” he said. “Back in 2014, it was suggested strongly that we do our own service, whether or not we are in a position to do that I don’t know.
“Certainly, there are many more options for shared coverage now and many more opportunities to share our games and I hope we take advantage of that. People love to see or games and they love access to it.
“The whole media world has changed so much in those eight years and I hope we are able take advantage of it and be brave and make decisions that are good for the coverage of our games and those who want to watch it.”
Sky Ireland has said it remains committed to “identifying potential future partnership opportunities” with the GAA – noting that it has made ‘significant investments’ in the game in recent years.
There was significant opposition to the Sky deal when it was originally struck in 2012; however, Mr O’Neill said the idea was always to bring the games to as many fans as possible around the world.
He said the GAAGo deal, which was announced around the same time, took the game to people all over the world.
The majority of GAA matches are now expected to be broadcast on RTÉ and GAAGo.
The GAA has been negotiating its new five-year deal for nearly 12 months and is due to announce it in the coming days.
Main image shows Sam Maguire at the Sky Sports GAA Championship launch at Croke Park in Dublin, 07-10-2020. Image: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile