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GAA Notes 7th April 2014

posted Apr 7, 2014, 1:08 PM by Mark Baldwin
Sponsored by McGrath's Pharmacy Tallow

The subject is on every GAA person's lips this week and the sudden nature of the announcement has made sure that the GAA's deal with Sky is a hot topic.
     From a commercial point of view the deal makes perfect sense. Sky have a track record of promoting and hyping sports with superb production and publicity. The money they have pumped into English football in particular has made sure that players are richly rewarded and clubs are more valuable than ever. Thirty years ago a soccer player could put away enough money in a career to buy a pub. Nowdays he could earn that money in a month.
    However one of the GAA's great strengths is the fact that it's not your normal commercial sporting organisation and by lying down with Rupert Murdoch's company they have seriously watered down this strength. We're an organisation that has deep roots in every community and is involved in most births, weddings and funerals that occur. By packaging our games to sell to an organisation whose aims and values are at best incompatible with ours we are taking a huge risk. 
    The argument that Padraic Duffy and Liam O Neill put forward is one of promotion to foreign viewers and service to the diaspora. It is possible that Sky will lead to people in many parts of Britain taking up the game but it is equally possible and indeed more likely that it will have a similar profile in the UK as rugby league has here. Sky has owned rugby league for twenty years but could anyone in Ireland who has a Sky Sports package name a single rugby league player? When American football came to the UK television thirty years ago they used a then newly established terrestrial channel, Channel 4, to promote their game. Even though they use Sky Sports more now, when they were trying to establish, they went for the much bigger viewership. Did the GAA try to deal with Channel 4 or Channel 5 when they were considering the UK market? They have a good deal in Australia where a terrestrial free-to-air channel will screen our games and this makes more sense.
     The biggest problem I see with this deal is what will happen in three years time. Sky's previous behaviour in relation to these deals indicate that they will go one of two ways- either they lose interest or they want the whole bag of tricks in an exclusive package. Like it or not Limerick v Waterford in front of 25000 in Thurles is of no interest to Sky. It's Dublin and a full Croke Park they want. Saying that 'we'll see what happens in 3 years' is a bit like bringing a child into a sweet shop and telling him pick out a piece of fruit.

Best of Luck
Best of Luck to Tallow's Jordan Henley who is part of the Waterford minor panel who take on Clare this Wednesday night.

Deise Draw
Deise Draw tickets are on sale now from the usual sellers. We realise that people are under financial pressure to support our club but it is vital that this income stream is protected and enhanced and you can be guaranteed that all money raised goes back into your local club. First Prize each month is €10000.