Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on Thursday morning, Croke Park commercial and stadium director Peter McKenna responded to the criticism levelled at the GAA by Michael Duignan on The Sunday Game.
Duignan was furious that a match of the magnitude of Kilkenny vs Waterford was not shown free-to-air in Ireland, and that his 83-year-old father was unable to see it as a result.
I think the Sky deal is so wrong on so many levels and it’s not because I’m in RTÉ, working for The Sunday Game.
My parents are at home, my father’s 83 years of age, a savage hurling man. Why should he have to go the pub, he doesn’t go the pub, to watch a match?
This obviously did not go down to well with the GAA, and McKenna was quick to point out that if Duignan wanted to, he could have paid €10 to see the match on it's own.
Michael is an employee of RTE, he’s paid to be an analyst. Is it particularly fair that that comment is allowed to carry without counterpoint to it?
You can get a Sky Now product, you could have seen that game for €10 if that was your real intent. The irony is that Michael tweeted the day before about sitting down to watch the Lions match, so he has Sky, so it seems to be a curious position to have taken.
The Croke Park commercial director continued to outline why the deal with Sky helps with funding in an attempt to refute Duignan's claim that the GAA 'has enough money', and claimed that the match in question was picked at the start of the year.
We get about €2.5m from government every year to run our games, but with sponsorship and everything else, we need that have games development officers, to put investment into Tullamore in Offaly, the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Croke Park and so on.
In total, we would reinvest 92% of all the income we get in. It’s not as though there’s massive shareholders sitting in Croke Park and running away off with it. It’s about creating a small economy which is the GAA in order to look after ourselves.
Matches must have a value for a pay-to-see service to buy them, and obviously the Waterford game had huge value. That was selected at the start of the year. Nobody knew what that game would be. It just happened to be one of the greats.
McKenna concluded by suggesting that he and the GAA were open to the idea of renewing their partnership with Sky.
Duignan won't be impressed with the response, but that tweet about watching the Lions really came back to bite him in the arse.
You can listen back to the Pat Kenny Show in full over on Newstalk.com.