GAA congress ready to discuss TV rights after "doing something it said it would never do"

The Sky TV deal was discussed on Newstalk Breakfast and the topic is set to be discussed in Carlow at the end of the month

The debate surrounding the GAA's deal with Sky rumbles on and motion 42 is set to be discussed at the end of the month at the organisation's congress in Carlow on February 26th and 27th. 

Paul Rouse, lecturer of history at UCD and Nicky Brennan, the GAA's former President joined Ivan on Newstalk Breakfast to discuss the deal and whether it helped or hindered the organisation.

Motion 42, which has been tabled by a Dublin club and calls for a rule that all televised inter county games be on free-to-air terrestrial television.

Rouse believes that the Sky deal ultimately boils down to the fact that, "In the middle of a brutal recession, the GAA decided for the first time to put its games behind a paywall. One third of its senior inter-county championship matches. This was precisely what it had said it would never do."

The lecturer said that Paraic Duffy outlined why it would never do it prior to the deal and why it could never do a deal on a subscription-based platform.

"The GAA is something that belongs to the community and is in every community in Ireland and even, if only, 90% of people had Sky Sports it could not be done because the GAA belongs to everybody."

GAAGO was mentioned in the discussion and Rouse believes the GAA should be lauded for the initiative but with exclusivity granted to Sky for so many games it left many of the would-be overseas customers without the option to watch via that platform.

Nicky Brennan countered that you can not tie the GAA's hands prior to new negotiations taking place based on the fact that TV3 is an entirely different organisation, UTV have new country-wide coverage and there will be further rivalry for the rights to the games.

The motion needs a two-thirds majority before being passed, but it will certainly be the main topic discussed in Carlow at the end of February.