Ryle Nugent Defends The Amount Of Rugby Shown Live On RTE

Ryle Nugent Defends The Amount Of Rugby Shown Live On RTE

RTE's head of sport, Ryle Nugent, and Sunday Business Post journalist Ewan MacKenna got involved in a Twitter Spat™ of late. MacKenna tweeted back in February pointing out what he believes to be a disproportionate level of rugby coverage on RTE television, citing the screening of the Women's Rugby World Cup on the state broadcaster as evidence:

The thrust of MacKenna's point was that the amount of rugby shown on Irish television was dictated more by those who made the commissioning decisions, rather than reflective of the size of the audience.

Nugent defended his and RTE's position on this:


Nugent has since granted MacKenna an interview, and it appears in today's Sunday Business Post and is available online here.

In the piece, Nugent explains that he was instructed by then Director General Noel Curran that the sports budget in RTE was being cut by 30%. Throughout the course of the interview, Nugent explains his philosophy behind RTE's sports programming, and ends by addressing MacKenna's criticism on twitter.


MacKenna's line in the piece preceding this reads "the possibility that while this isn't rugby country, there's a media element that hopes some day it will be". Here's Nugent's rebuttal:

That's simply not true, and peeople don't realise the nature of this. The udner-20s, for example, it's how rights holders package it. If you bid for the November internationals, the IRFU package, the 20s are part of that. You've a judgement call to make and in the same Friday night slots as domestic football, Ireland-Scotland had a 155,000 average; last year was similar. [The average for a League of Ireland game at this time is 50,000].

Is there an interest? There is. And with the women, the Six Nations and World Cup are decisions we made independently. And I'll make no apologies for strategically saying we need to cover more women's sport. But look at the facts. We made a decision, when the squeeze came on, to walk away from the Pro12, so we didn't replace it. The Six Nations is lost to TV3 from next year, and the Rugby World Cup is gone.

Right now, for 2018, we have no rugby on the books at all.

The full interview is in today's Sunday Business Post

See Also: Watch: Great Scenes As Nigel Owens Yellow Cards A Ballboy At The RDS



Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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