Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Michael Bolton

Virgin Media have issued a statement this afternoon questioning if RTÉ have paid towards the GAA’s media rights.

The broadcasting company said in their statement they were not approached by the GAA when Sky Sports broadcasting deal ended with the GAA last year after eight years.

High profile hurling games shown exclusively behind paywall on GAAGO have caused controversy this season, with claims that the elderly community are being excluded from games.

The GAAGO site provides coverage of GAA fixtures, originally aimed at international viewers, allowing them to pay to watch the games online.

In Virgin Media’s statement, it read: “RTÉ is a 50% shareholder in GAAGO, this has never been clarified in any editorial discussion about GAAGO and the decision not to show key games on Free to Air television.

“When Sky Television decided not to renew its GAA rights, the GAA did not approach other broadcasters to ascertain whether they would be interested in broadcasting these games but arbitrarily decided to put them behind a paywall.

“The question must be asked, did RTE pay anything for these rights or did they just agree to keep them behind a paywall to drive incremental revenues for both partners in GAAGO, i.e. RTÉ and the GAA

“Given the multi-million increases in State funding to RTÉ over recent years, RTÉ now has more Sports rights than it can show on its channels, with licence payers now being forced to further subsidise RTÉ by paying for GAA Sports content through its joint-venture with the GAA.”

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