It is understood that Sky have made a bid for at least two of six broadcasting packages in a reconstructed GAA schedule. Any move into Gaelic games by the British media giants would set off controversy and furious debate similar to when they secured the rights to some Irish soccer internationals in the early 2000s.
According to the Irish Daily Star, the terms of the multi-million euro deals exclude the possibility of games being shown on pay-per-view, which could result in games being shown on free-to-air Sky 1. There is also the possibility of TG4 and Sky broadcasting championship games simultaneously, as Sky look to gain a foothold in the GAA market. UPC's strength in Ireland is seen as a serious enough threat to Sky that a GAA package would be one way of regaining lost subscribers.
The successful bidders may not become known for another 10 days or so. All-Ireland finals are required by law to be shown on free-to-air TV, so any advances by Sky will not affect the showpiece events. The previous broadcasting deals are believed to have been worth around €10 million to the GAA. The Star have claimed that Croke Park Commercial Director Peter McKenna has suggested that this year's deal could bring in double that amount to the organisation, though he did not comment on whether Sky had made any official contact.
In any case, the number of televised Championship games is set to rise from last year's total of 40, but is unlikely to be more than 50, the record for a single year.