GAA commercial director Peter McKenna has suggested that Amazon Prime could be among the bidders when the association's TV rights come up for negotiation this year. 

Speaking at the announcement of the GAA's record €34m loss in its 2020 accounts yesterday, McKenna thanked existing rights-holders RTE, TG4 and Sky for their flexibility in a difficult year but also suggested the video wing of the e-commerce giant, which has screened a number of Premier League matches in recent years, could be a player in live streaming from 2022.

The GAA's sponsorship and media revenue (excluding November and December) declined from over €20m to €9.1m last year as discounts were given due to the pandemic-enforced abridged nature of the championship, but McKenna said: "I think there's some positives this year in the media rights landscape.

"We got huge support from TG4 and RTE in allowing streaming (of club games) to occur, even though it was contrary to the contracts we had with them.

"Streaming and digitisation are going to be a bigger part of the contracts.

"The importance of sport in a national broadcast sense is far more important now when you see what other content is available and where it is available.

"We have a very good product for media rights negotiation and I think there are a lot of players in the market now and new ones coming into it.

"So I'd be very confident that we’ll have a very healthy discussion with the existing partners but there are newcomers coming into that frame too, like Amazon for example."

Amazon's business model combines access to their streaming platform, primarily a competitor for Netflix, with delivery on products for a monthly fee.

Recent media reports have suggested the company may open an Irish distribution centre to bypass Brexit customs regulations that delay packages from the UK and add charges.  

An exterior view of the Cusack Stand

McKenna also confirmed that a proposed redevelopment of conference facilities on the Cusack Stand side was on ice, despite the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreeing last year to finance half of a €70m projected upgrade.

Over half the GAA's income in 2020 came from Irish state grants.

"The (GAA's) board took a view last February that the economic scenario wasn’t in a strong position, that we should hold back doing any investment, particularly in hospitality and so on before even Covid struck," he said.

"We’re in a very challenging environment financially so it would be just foolhardy to go off and do projects like that. We have to stabilise the ship and that not only are the current accounts stabilised but the future earning capacity is stable as well.

"We have discussed that with EIB, they are fully aware of it. They are seeing exactly, not only in Ireland but the pattern elsewhere in Europe.

"It’s a positive to get your plans endorsed by a third party of this size and credibility like the EIB, but they appreciate that we are not going to do anything which is foolhardy until we have our own organisation on a far more stable basis."