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Fewer championship GAA games to be televised next year

By Alan O’Mara

The GAA recently announced its media rights package for the next three years and significant changes have been made compared to previous seasons.

The biggest talking point for the period of 2011-2014 is TV3 capturing the rights to broadcast both the Football and Hurling All-Ireland finals. Traditionally, the under18 deciders have always been shown on RTE and commentary was in Irish but it is not currently clear whether TV3 plan to continue that custom.

Irish language organisation Conradh na Gaeilge have already written to TV3 to find out where they stand on the matter as well as the GAA itself to see if there are any plans in the pipeline to ensure that the broadcasting of our national language on two of the biggest sporting days of the year continues.

In general, RTE will show 31 GAA Championship matches live each year, while TV3 will have nine. That means that live Championship matches shown on TV will drop from 52 to 40 and that decision comes in an attempt to encourage more supporters to go to watch matches.

Speaking at the announcement of the deal GAA President Christy Cooney said:

‘We are delighted with the high interest in the broadcast rights for our games and we believe this is the correct balance between showing live games and our commitment to supporting club activity.’

He added, ‘We would like to thank our broadcast partners for their continued interest in bringing our games to GAA supporters and would also like to welcome Newstalk who will be GAA media partners for the first time’.

TG4 have also improved their position under the new agreement. The Irish language station will continue to show Allianz League and AIB club championship matches as well as having also secured the television rights to a new Wednesday night package which will see matches from the Ulster Bank Third Level Colleges Competitions and the Cadburys U-21 Football Championship screened live.

In radio, RTÉ remain the primary rights holder and for the first time Newstalk have been awarded live broadcast rights for second choice Championship games.

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