GAA’s new media rights deal likely freezes community and online radio

GAA’s new media rights agreement with the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) is expected to have major implications for community radio and online broadcasters.

The 2022-27 deal would have given exclusive live commentary rights to IBI members, preventing others from documenting games in real time.

Community stations and social media platforms covering live club matches are expected to be frozen by the arrangement.

On Wednesday, Community Radio Kilkenny City (CRKC) confirmed that it must “severely reduce” its GAA coverage with immediate effect as KCLR 96FM has secured exclusive rights.

A statement titled ‘Community Radio Sidelined’ from the CRCC read: “Kilkenny City Community Radio will no longer comment on any Kilkenny GAA matches (adult or minor) and will not report live matches in progress. On behalf of itself and its listeners, Kilkenny City Community Radio is extremely disappointed with the position in which the GAA/IBI agreement places it.

“Kilkenny City Community Radio will continue to provide detailed coverage of Kilkenny GAA matches on Sunday and Monday evenings, and we will also continue to provide extensive sports coverage on our other weekend sports (and music) programmes. The same level of restrictive coverage will also apply to Kilkenny City Community Radio in relation to Kilkenny Inter-County matches at all levels.

Featuring the likes of former GAA Chairman Nickey Brennan, Pat Treacy and Barry Henriques, the station’s award-winning coverage of Gaelic games in Kilkenny is known for its breadth.

The press release continued: “It should be noted that Kilkenny City Community Radio was often the only broadcast media in Kilkenny at many of these games. Kilkenny City Community Radio is proud of what it has achieved to date, and in particular that the entire sports team works as volunteers. Kilkenny City Community Radio is also fortunate to have many other volunteers around Kilkenny who provide regular match reports.

More details on GAA’s new media rights deals are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. RTÉ and Sky Sports are expected to once again carve out the lion’s share of live Championship coverage, with the national broadcaster also officially taking over the Saturday night Allianz League package they claimed from Eir Sport after it was discontinued.

As previously reported, the BBC are set to resume more live televised Championship matches, amid speculation Newstalk could secure a slice of live Championship radio rights after missing out on the 2017-22 final round.

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