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GAA unveils new rights agreements, retains digital content

Ireland’s Gaelic Athletic Association has struck fresh domestic and overseas broadcast deals under new five-year agreements through which the organisation will retain its digital clip rights.

The new deals come into effect with the commencement of the 2017 GAA football and hurling championships and run through to 2022. The five-year contracts mark a departure for the GAA, which has sold its broadcast rights in three-year deals in the recent past.

Public-service broadcaster RTÉ has retained access to 31 senior championship games each year including all provincial hurling and football finals, both All-Ireland hurling and two All-Ireland football quarter-finals, and the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals in both football and hurling.

Pay-television broadcaster Sky Sports has retained rights to 20 games, 14 of them exclusive, including two All-Ireland football quarter-finals. It will, as previously, broadcast the All-Ireland hurling and football semi-finals and finals on a simulcast basis with RTÉ. Public-service broadcaster BBC Northern Ireland will once again broadcast live television coverage from the Ulster senior football championship.

In all, a total of 45 games will be broadcast live across the GAA Football and Hurling Championships while RTÉ will continue to broadcast Sunday night highlights programme, The Sunday Game.

Irish-language free-to-air broadcaster TG4 has retained access to Sunday afternoon Allianz League and club championship games and to broadcast minor championship games up to and including the finals. It will therefore continue to broadcast 85 live and deferred league, club championship, minor and U20/21 championship games each year.

TG4 has also retained rights to highlights packages for the Allianz leagues and for inter-county and club championship action. Saturday night Allianz League games will be broadcast on the Eir Sport pay-television platform.

In a departure from the previous media rights deal, the GAA has retained its clip rights for all games and said it plans to leverage them across its own platforms as part of a wider digital content strategy. GAA Football Championship sponsors Eir will also have access to these rights in addition to access to the GAA archive. Sky Sports will have clip access for their 14 exclusive games.

In addition, partnerships with Premium Sports, covering commercial premises in North America, and UK pay-television broadcaster Premier Sports have also been renewed across the same five-year window.

GAA director general Páraic Duffy said: “Broadcasting revenues represent an important funding source for the work of the Association and its units. Other major sporting bodies can participate in lucrative centralised rights pooling and revenue-sharing agreements that are not available to the GAA and it was vital that we achieved the proper value for our rights. Our success in that regard in the allocation of these rights will enable us to boost our investment in games and infrastructural development. 

“I am also pleased that gaa.ie has retained its own clip rights which will allow the Association to showcase our games on our own platforms and to promote gaa.ie and our other digital channels as sources of all GAA activity and information.”