GAA and Sky Deal: A forward-looking and commercially astute decision

09 April 2014

This article, written by Partner Niall Collins, first appeared in the Sunday Independent on 6 April 2014. © Copyright Sunday Independent 2014. All rights reserved. To view this article as it originally appeared, download the pdf document to the right.

Nestled in the cosy surroundings of Rupert Street in the heart of London's West End lies Waxy O'Connor's public house. Casting an eye to the other side of the world, if you stroll down Elizabeth Street towards Eagle Street in Brisbane's central business district, you will stumble across The Queensland Irish Club.

I spent a large part of my career in London and Brisbane and have fond memories of sitting in both Waxy's and the Irish Club getting my fix of all things GAA. However, while I typically enjoyed the trek to both establishments, I couldn't help feeling that those living beyond Irish shores should have far easier access to coverage of games.

The GAA's announcement last week that it had entered into a three-year union with Sky should be welcomed. When coupled with landing the delivery of all 45 live games to Australia via Channel 7, GAA powerbrokers have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring the effective promotion and penetration of Gaelic games to the widest possible audience. This is a forward-looking and commercially astute decision by the GAA.

Competition from Sky Sports and the process of rivalry should also be welcomed. Vigorous competition tends to deliver the best out of a firm. Further, promoting competition is broadly accepted as one of the best available tools for enhancing consumer welfare. Sky's commitment to sport has been unrivalled to date. It seamlessly moulds top-quality sporting action with cutting-edge technology and expert punditry and, in the process, arguably sets the standard by which all sport on television is judged.