The GAA have said that a lack of HD coverage, as well as a lack of penetration into Northern Ireland, counted against TV3 in their bid to host Championship games this summer. Unfortunately for the Ballymount outfit, the lack of HD argument seems a fair one with regard to hurling coverage in particular, since switching from HD to standard-definition coverage of the game can be as jarring on the eyes as trying to find a contact lens on the floor of a crowded pub.
Speaking on RTE radio yesterday, GAA commercial and stadium director Peter McKenna said that “Some of the things we were looking at were changes in technology,
“RTÉ have high definition broadcast facilities so does Sky. That wasn’t true of all the people who were looking at it [the rights].
“We also wanted a 32-county distribution so Sky and RTÉ can both do that. What Sky brings us in the UK market is access to 10 to 11 million households that will really bring our game to a new level there.”
This admission came in spite of the fact that TV3 director of programming Niall Cogley claimed his station had made a “very commercial bid”.
McKenna was keen to stress that there were good relations between the Association and the independent broadcaster. He said: “That would be a lot of it and the fact that they only have a 26-county distribution. I must say I thought TV3 were very gracious through the whole process. We had a very strong relationship.”
The Sunday Times also reported yesterday that the GAA will be asked to explain their reasons behind the Sky Sports decision to an Oireachtas committee later this month. They also claim that the GAA informed the Department of Communications in 2011 that they would not sell media rights to “a foreign channel” as it would be “contrary to the culture and national ethos of the association”.