DONEGAL MANAGER Declan Bonner says that the GAA’s big Championship clashes should be shown on terrestrial television.
Donegal face Mayo on Saturday at MacHale Park in a winner-takes-all game in the Super 8s, with a place in an All-Ireland semi-final up for grabs.
The game will be shown exclusively by Sky Sports, meaning thousands of supporters will be left in the dark.
“A match of that magnitude, you’d want to see on RTÉ, there’s no doubt about that,” Bonner said.
“I’ve been in visiting people in nursing homes and hospitals over the last couple of weeks and they don’t have it on Sky.
“They’d like to see the game, but they don’t have the option now.
“It’s not ideal. There is a huge audience out there who will want to see the game on Saturday evening.”
Recent figures suggest that the Donegal-Meath game on the opening weekend of the Super 8s was viewed on Sky Sports by an average of just 1,000 people in the UK.
Bonner said: “The viewing figures aren’t there, but I’m sure somebody, somewhere is making money out of it.
“That decision was made way above where I am. You’d like everyone to see it. It’s been a bone of contention, but the GAA have signed a deal with Sky and that’s not going away any time soon.
“This is a Sky game only. That’s part of the deal and they won’t let RTÉ in. We have a job to do in Castlebar and we don’t concern ourselves too much with that.”
In 2014, when the GAA came to an an agreement on a deal with Sky, then Director General Páraic Duffy said the reason was to cater for GAA fans in the UK.
“At the top of the list was the need to make our games accessible to Irish people living abroad,” Duffy said at the time.
“This issue of accessibility of our games on live TV has been, over the years, by far the single biggest issue raised with us when we spoke with our members outside Ireland.”
Last year, three counties (Clare, Leitrim and Roscommon) had approved motions opposing subscription-based TV rights, but they were ruled out on a technicality.
The motions mirrored a 2016 motion that was defeated 85-15. As it failed to garner one-third of votes, a similar motion is not permitted to the clár in the subsequent three years.
Motions on the matter will be allowed for the 2020 GAA Congress.Tags: