RTÉ not in a position to provide DVD recordings to Dublin
Fresh stand-off develops between broadcaster and Jim Gavin's All-Ireland champions
Jim Gavin: Dublin football manager refused to make himself available for interview with RTÉ after the victory over Donegal in Croke Park. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
RTÉ Sport is neither obliged nor has the capacity to provide DVD recordings of Allianz League games for counties seeking TV footage for analysis purposes or to prepare for future opposition.
A fresh stand-off has developed between All-Ireland football champions Dublin and the national broadcaster after it emerged that a request for such footage was turned down by RTÉ; no such arrangement is in place, however, as RTÉ only hold the rights to a highlights package for the Allianz League, while Eir Sport and TG4 are currently the primary rights holders.
This resulted in Dublin football manager Jim Gavin refusing to make himself available for interview with RTÉ after their victory over Donegal in Croke Park last Saturday night; a similar stance was taken after Dublin’s win over Tyrone in Healy Park the previous Saturday night, although on that occasion RTÉ Sport didn’t have a camera on site, so only the RTÉ radio was refused by Gavin.
RTÉ Sport has confirmed that Dublin football management wrote to the RTÉ sports library requesting TV footage of an opening league game for analysis purposes, only for them to be told that RTÉ didn’t have the capacity to do this, as they are not the primary rights holders, and that they were unable to assist on this occasion, as is the case with all other counties.
No further representation was made to senior management at RTÉ Sport, although it’s unclear to what extent the Dublin football management intend on continuing that lack of co-operation when it comes to post-match interviews.
There is an arrangement in place for championship matches whereby RTÉ, as the primary rights holders, do provide counties with access to recorded footage for such purposes, including the isolated cameras or outside broadcast units that provide the TV footage, where such resources are possible. It goes for all counties, in football and hurling,
However, RTÉ do not provide any of the isolated cameras or outside broadcast units that provide the TV footage for the Allianz League games.
The Gavin-RTÉ standoff will be next tested on Saturday week, February 24th, when Dublin make the trip to Castlebar to face Mayo in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final; the following Saturday, March 3rd, they are back in Croke Park to take on Kerry.
In the meantime Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte also continues his long standoff with RTÉ, going back to 2011, after details of a letter sent to the broadcaster were leaked to the press, although several efforts have been made by the national broadcaster to mend that relationship.
Gavin also refused to co-operate with RTÉ last summer owing to certain comments made about Diarmuid Connolly’s sending off, leading to a 12-week suspension, from his red card in the Leinster Championship against Carlow. Gavin stood down from interviews for the semi-final against Westmeath, then relaxed this prior to the Leinster final.
Indeed no broadcasters were afforded their usual post-match interview with the Dublin manager after that Westmeath game: Gavin later said that “from my part, if I believe that a player is being disrespected and that Croke Park don’t step in and protect the player and his good name, I’ve no option but to react as I did the last day”.
In December 2016, the GAA agreed its latest TV Media rights deal, worth in the region of €80 million for five years, the longest period the association has negotiated for one of these agreements. That saw RTÉ and Sky Sports retain their current TV packages, RTÉ getting access to 31 senior championship games each year, Sky also retaining their rights to 20 games, 14 of them exclusive, including two All-Ireland football quarter-finals.
TG4 retained access to Sunday afternoon Allianz League and club championship games, while eir Sport retained the live rights to all Saturday night games.
However, there was a negative impact on that deal as Virgin Media, whose loss of the old Setanta Ireland channel (now Eir Sport) meant that subscribers who previously had free access to Saturday night matches, (as Setanta was part of the basic Virgin package), now had to subscribe to the eir package.