The GAA says a comprehensive review of GAAGO will take place at the end of this season.
Along with other sporting bodies and broadcasters, the GAA has been invited to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Sport, and Media. Meanwhile, the GAA has hit back at claims from Virgin Media that broadcast rights were not put out to tender.
The association says Virgin Media was given multiple opportunities to bid for inter-county packages, but no bids were forthcoming.
Speaking to KCLR Live yesterday, 8 times All Ireland winner Aidan Taggy Fogarty had some strong opinions on it
“The thing that irks me is that they are putting big games on the app, for me, to promote the app, rather than for the GAA public. They had Clare and Limerick and Cork v Tipperary on the app.”
“RTE did not show any live hurling games last weekend, which in my view is an absolute disgrace. Being it is our number one sport and trying to promote the game of hurling.”
“There is a place for the app, but I just feel they are putting the big games on it to get the subscribers in.”
See also: RTÉ head of sport Declan McBennett responds to criticism of streaming service
On Tuesday May 9th, VMTV (Virgin Media Television) issued a statement that called into question the integrity of the GAA Media Rights process. The statement contained several factual errors and misleading comments.
The GAA contacted VMTV and requested that they correct their statement. Since this has not been forthcoming, the GAA, reluctantly, issues the following to correct the record.
Strategically, the GAA media rights are designed to:
a) Maximise coverage. We bias toward ‘Free To Air’.
b) Support the Irish language. We bias toward TG4.
c) Generate a fair commercial value for our rights. We seek to keep commercial tension to the fore by seeking an agile, competent third party.
- From as early as February 2021, the GAA contacted VMTV and other parties to gauge their interest in acquiring rights packages that would become available in the renewal of the GAA media rights in 2022. The initial call was followed up by a detailed description of the various packages available.
- Thereafter followed several meetings, telephone calls, emails and document exchanges between the parties.
- The GAA did not receive a formal bid from VMTV or an expression of interest.
- In June 2022, VMTV were again contacted to clarify that they did not intend to make a bid. VMTV were clear that their model was not to acquire rights but rather to acquire ‘ready to go’ packages
- In short, VMTV were afforded every opportunity to discuss options, variations to packages and to submit a confidential offer. VMTV choose not to bid.
- GAA continued discussions with other parties.
- Specifically in respect of one party, the GAA was unable to deliver Sky’s preferred selection as strategically we wanted greater free to air coverage for our National League Package. These rights subsequently went to TG4 and RTÉ. Whilst Sky did bid for a lesser package, the GAA decided to progress with GAAGO. This was because GAAGO could facilitate greater flexibility on match schedules, provide coverage for an additional 24 games and offer the opportunity for more flexible pricing for viewers and members. The finances involved were in fact similar.
- Recently GAAGO has been the subject of considerable commentary and we will conduct a comprehensive review of its operation at season end.
See also: GAA may be looking at online streaming service Amazon for future broadcast rights
Former Mayo footballer and Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon says the rights deal – which is set to run for five years – needs to be reviewed;
“RTE now have more sports rights than they can broadcast and yet license payers are asked to subsidize RTE further by paying for GAA sports content through GAA GO.”
“We have seen they are cherry-picking key championship games to place behind a paywall.”
You can listen to Aidan Fogarty’s full interview below on KCLR Live below: