Eir playing clever game
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.