Live GAA TV coverage shifts to elite end of the championship

Smaller provincial matches will be the losers as Sky and RTÉ announce line-up

Sky’s fifth season of championship coverage on its pay-per-view platform focuses even more exclusively on the latter stages of the championship. Photograph: Clive O’Donohoe/Inpho

Sky’s fifth season of championship coverage on its pay-per-view platform focuses even more exclusively on the latter stages of the championship. Photograph: Clive O’Donohoe/Inpho

 

Sky’s line-up of live TV matches this summer confirms the clear shift in coverage to the more elite end of the championship and away from the smaller provincial matches.

Despite the revamped formats introduced this year – with eight extra football games in the Super-8 stage, plus the two round-robin provincial hurling championships – the number of live TV matches was left unchanged at 45.

RTÉ has exclusive rights to 25 games, Sky another 14, with six more “shared”: the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals; this deal is in place until 2021 and isn’t expected to change until after that.

The shift this year sees RTÉ opt for just three provincial football games outside the four finals, and, for the first time since 2006, Dublin’s opening game against Wicklow or Offaly is not covered; the broadcaster has also gone for six of the Super-8 football matches (or two of the hurling quarter-finals), which means high-profile games such as the Ulster quarter-final between Monaghan and Tyrone won’t be getting a live billing. In hurling, RTÉ will show 10 provincial matches, including eight of the round-robin matches and the two finals.

Fifth season

Sky’s fifth season of championship coverage on its pay-per-view platform focuses even more exclusively on the latter stages of the championship: it will show five of the Super-8 football games, three of the provincial hurling games, while bypassing all of the provincial football matches completely, and instead beginning its football coverage with the second-round qualifiers on Saturday June 23rd.

This shift away from the provincial football championships is especially evident in Ulster, although BBC Northern Ireland does have the rights for deferred coverage, and also two games (Fermanagh against Armagh and Armagh against Down) on the BBC’s iPlayer.

Despite the added games, new GAA director-general Tom Ryan last month confirmed the current TV deal was staying. “We’re going to stick with the existing structure of things. We’re happy with how the arrangement has worked up to now and we’re not looking at changing the nuts and bolts of the arrangement until that comes up for renewal.”

Sky 2018 GAA Championship Fixtures

Games Exclusive to Sky

Saturday June 2nd

5pm Wexford v Galway (LSHC)

7pm Cork v Limerick (MSHC)

Saturday June 9th

7pm Kilkenny v Wexford (LSHC)

7pm Galway v Dublin (LSHC)

Saturday June 23rd

5pm Football Rd 2 Qualifier

Saturday June 30th

5pm Football Rd 3 Qualifier

7pm Football Rd 3 Qualifier

Saturday July 7th

5pm Football Rd 4 Qualifier

7pm Football Rd 4 Qualifier

Saturday July 14th

5pm AISFC Quarter Final, Rd 1

Saturday July 21st

5pm AISFC Quarter Final, Rd 2

7pm AISFC Quarter Final, Rd 2

Saturday August 4th

7pm AISFC Quarter Final, Rd 3

7pm AISFC Quarter Final, Rd 3

Games shown on both Sky and RTÉ

Saturday July 28th

5.00pm All Ireland Hurling Semi Final

Sunday July 29th

3.30pm All Ireland Hurling Semi Final

Saturday August 11th

5.00pm All Ireland Football Semi Final

Sunday August 12th

3.30pm All Ireland Football Semi Final

Sunday August 19th

3.30pm All Ireland Hurling Final

Sunday September 2nd

3.30pm All Ireland Football Final

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