RTÉ have announced a deal which will see the Airtricity League's exposure on national television increase quite a bit over the next few years. The state broadcaster have agreed the deal with the FAI to show a total of 78 live Premier Division and FAI Cup games by November 2018.
The move is sure to be welcomed by fans, many of whom have been dismayed at the lack of coverage given to the domestic league, something which seemed to have reached a low point with the axing of Monday Night Soccer in March 2014.
That programme was replaced by Soccer Republic, which continues to show highlights of league action but in a significantly later time slot, something which was seen as indicative of the lack of support for the domestic game from those within RTÉ.
However, John Delaney, chief executive of the FAI, says that this new deal proves that that is not the case.
I want to thank RTÉ for their continued support of Irish football, both in the SSE Airtricity League and our international matches.
With an exciting league season under way and as we head into a highly anticipated EURO 2016 qualification campaign, television exposure is important for the development and promotion of the game and helps the association continue the work it does across all strands of the game in every part of Ireland.
Similarly, Clíona O'Leary, Acting Group Head of RTÉ Sport, said that the live free-to-air games proved RTÉ's commitment to the Airtricity League.
We are delighted to extend our partnership with the FAI, bringing Irish viewers live free-to-air coverage across the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division and FAI Ford Cup.
This comprehensive coverage, combined with Soccer Republic, an exciting series covering all aspects of the game with a particular focus on football in Ireland, underlines our strong commitment to the domestic game.
And, as RTÉ has already secured live broadcast rights for all of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying games, we really have the most comprehensive offering for fans, all free-to-air.
Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE