Eir play­ing clever game

Irish Examiner - Sport - - GAA -

john.fog­a­rty@ex­am­iner.ie

The first year of eir’s county cham­pi­onship broad­cast­ing deal with the GAA con­tin­ued with their live tele­vis­ing of the Dublin SFC fi­nal yes­ter­day evening.

Widely ap­plauded for pro­duc­tion val­ues, their cov­er­age can al­ready be deemed a suc­cess even if there are those who feel shin­ing such a light on a county’s club scene beyond the fi­nal isn’t worth it. But then it’s a new mar­ket. Be­sides, eir are play­ing a long game.

As Sky Sports are seen as the pay-per-view bo­gey­men, eir, who have just con­cluded the sec­ond year of a fiveyear agree­ment as as­so­ciate spon­sors of the All-ire­land SFC, have as­suredly ex­panded their reach into the GAA mar­ket from Satur­day evening Al­lianz League matches to the grass­roots of the game with­out much dis­con­tent.

Af­ter all, they are broad­cast­ing live games that wouldn’t oth­er­wise be broad­casted live.

Should they claim in­ter­county cham­pi­onship games by the next round of me­dia rights talks comes around in 2022, there will be lit­tle up­set with them hav­ing ef­fec­tively been part of the fur­ni­ture go­ing back to their Se­tanta days.

The same can’t be said for Sky who, even though they are four years in bed with the GAA, are now at­tempt­ing a charm of­fen­sive with their €2.6m back­ing of the GAA’S Su­per Games cen­tres to try and curb drop-out num­bers among 12 to 21-year-olds.

They also spon­sored the GAA’S Youth Fo­rum this past week­end and the coach­ing con­fer­ence but such as­so­ci­a­tions won’t change peo­ple’s opin­ions any time soon.

Should they glean a hand­some share of football’s Su­per 8 and hurling pro­vin­cial round-robin games in 2018 when the de­mand to at­tend games will out­strip some sta­di­ums’ ca­pac­i­ties, ex­pect those stances to stiffen.

Not eir’s prob­lem. Not yet any­way.

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