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Reaction: Paraic Duffy defends controversial GAA TV deal

Updated: Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 10:27 | Comments

Paraic Duffy: 'This is not just about promoting our games to the Irish. We believe the games of hurling and football are two of the best field games in the world.'
Paraic Duffy: 'This is not just about promoting our games to the Irish. We believe the games of hurling and football are two of the best field games in the world.'

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GAA Director General Paraic Duffy has said financial gain was not the motivation in granting Sky broadcast rights to games from this summer.

The GAA confirmed that RTÉ will broadcast 31 games for each of the next three seasons while Sky Sports have secured 14 matches as they enter the fray for the first time.

RTÉ and the GAA will also launch an online paid-for service offering Gaelic Games to audiences worldwide.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One's Drivetime, Duffy said the move was to benefit GAA fans around the world and potentially entice new converts to the game.

He said: “The total value for the package for the all the games from all the broadcasters is marginally higher than we had for the three previous years.

“Our goal here was not to monetise this to the maximum. Our goal was to make our games as widely available as possible to the Irish abroad and we believe have achieved that. 

“We will do with the money what we always have done with it. We use our money to develop our game, to support communities around Ireland, to build the facilities that mark the GAA and put it apart from other sports.”

“We believe we can open a new audience for two great games.”

The GAA also said that all 45 games televised in Ireland will be shown live on Channel 7 in Australia in a further boost to exiled supporters.

The GAA has suggested that expanded worldwide access could act as a compensation for the reduced number of free-to-air matches in Ireland.

He said: “When Liam O'Neill and I sat down to discuss this issue we had two very clear objectives.

“The first was to make our game more widely available to the Irish overseas and the second was to try and promote and develop what we consider to be two of the best field games in the world, hurling and football, worldwide.

“By showing our games on Sky Sports, it means now that they will be available to 10 million Sky subscribers in Britain and through the agreement we have made with RTÉ Digital and Channel 7 in Australia, our games will be available to the Irish overseas as never before.

“We believe we can open a new audience for two great games.

“In terms of the Championship the number of live games has been reduced from 40 to 31. In exchange for that our members abroad, the large number of members abroad, in Britain, Australia and across the world, will have access to our games that they never would have had before.

“If we hadn't made this deal with Sky, there is a huge Irish population in Britain that would see no games live. They will now see 20 live games.

“I think most of our supporters and members will accept that to lose nine free-to-air games here to allow supporters and members abroad to experience GAA Championship across the world is a price worth paying. 

“There is an audience to promote our games in Britain. Sky has 10 million subscribers in Britain. That gives us the opportunity to promote our games to an audience that has never seen Gaelic Games before.

“This is not just about promoting our games to the Irish. We believe the games of hurling and football are two of the best field games in the world.

“There is a huge audience out there that if they see our games played at Championship level, it will grow interest and enthusiasm for the games and held us spread them worldwide.

“There is a very high standard in terms of sports broadcasting both in RTÉ and TV3.

“Sky, in terms of their broadcasting performance over the years, have proven to be in the top echelons, and I have no doubt the way they cover our games will on a level we're used to in the past and hopefully it will help raise the all-round standards.”

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