FAI signs deal to stream Airtricity League games abroad
Clubs look set to receive €10,000 per year from deal with Austrian firm Trackchamp
Every Airtricity League game will be streamed from next season under the FAI’s four-year deal with Trackchamp. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Irish clubs look set to receive about €10,000 each per year plus help with video analysis as their share of a deal signed by the FAI that allows for every Airtricity League game to be streamed live overseas from next season.
The four-year agreement, with the Austrian firm Trackchamp, is similar in nature to one signed by the Northern Ireland Football League in the summer of 2014. That contract is believed to be worth about €500,000 over a similar period with the firm, which is part-owned by online betting firm Bwin, then providing footage and software to clubs so that they can use the coverage of their matches for analytical purposes.
No cash value has been put on the new deal by the FAI which informed clubs a couple of weeks ago that it was about to be concluded. The cost of the technical support provided to clubs under its terms are hard to put a price on as of yet, not least because clubs are unsure of how good it will be but one official suggested that it would probably be in the ballpark of a further €10,000 per annum.
The move comes a matter of months after Niall Quinn had suggested overseas broadcast rights could provide the funding required for a major overhaul of the league here, a notion that also got a mention in the Conroy Report.
The potential of these rights to generate significant revenues has been much debated since but the scale of this deal, which appears to have been prompted at least in part by that talk, falls far short of what Quinn seemed to feel might be raised from broadcasters around the world.
Certainly €20,000 per annum would not have a major impact on clubs here, particularly at the upper end of things where total revenues would exceed €1 million a year.
There have also been question marks over the quality of the coverage generated with Trackchamp devoting nothing like the resources to games that more mainstream broadcasters traditionally do. Club representatives generally reacted coolly to the deal yesterday with some suggesting that they would have rejected it had that been an option.
For its part, the FAI suggested it “will increase global reach and will allow clubs to gather increased technological analysis [which] can only be good for the national game”. It acknowledged the contract means “additional revenue” for it but the clubs do not appear to have been told how much, something that will only add to a sense of frustration that had already prompted the premier division outfits to bring in senior counsel Michael Cush to represent them in forthcoming talks with Abbotstown.