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RTÉ and Sky set to retain GAA rights – report

Ireland’s Gaelic Athletic Association is set to strike a five-year extension to its rights deals with public-service broadcaster RTÉ and pay-television broadcaster Sky, according to the Irish Independent.

The newspaper said talks are close to an end over a deal which will result in the broadcast rights for championship hurling and football games split between the same partners until the 2021 championship.

The Independent said the new deal will be worth around €55m ($60.5m), noting that a five-year contract marks a departure for the GAA, which has sold its broadcast rights in three-year deals in the recent past.

Sky retained the ability to extend its rights deal with the GAA after a motion to make all televised championship games available free to air was defeated in February.

Sky currently has exclusive rights to 14 games per championship, with RTÉ holding exclusive access to 25 matches. A motion passed in December at the Dublin Convention called for new rules regarding rights, whereby "all televised inter-country championship games shall be available on free-to-air television".

The motion required support from at least two thirds of delegates at February’s GAA’s Annual Congress. However, an overwhelming 85 per cent of delegates voted to maintain the status quo, allowing the GAA to negotiate with all broadcasters.

The Independent added that public-service broadcaster BBC Northern Ireland is also set to renew its agreement with the GAA to show Ulster Championship matches live. This season, it showed nine games, with two of those deferred.