GAA raises possibility of Amazon Prime showing future games

“We’ll have a very healthy discussion with the existing partners but there are newcomers coming into that frame too, like Amazon for example.”

GAA commercial director Peter McKenna has raised the possibility that Amazon Prime could show future games when the next TV rights deal is up for renewal.

McKenna was speaking after it was announced on Tuesday that the association suffered record losses of €34m in 2020, with worse feared in 2021.

GAA Amazon Prime

The Croke Park Stadium Director thanked the GAA’s existing TV partners – RTÉ, TG4, Sky Sports and Eir Sport – while also suggesting that Amazon Prime could make a bid for the next broadcasting deal.

“I think there’s some positives this year in the media rights landscape,” McKenna said.

“We got huge support from TG4 and RTE in allowing streaming to occur, even though it was contrary to the contracts we had with them. Streaming and digitisation are going to be a bigger part of the contracts.

“The importance of sport in a national broadcast sense is far more important now when you see what other content is available and where it is available.

“We have a very good product for media rights negotiation and I think there are a lot of players in the market now and new ones coming into it.

“So I’d be very confident that we’ll have a very healthy discussion with the existing partners but there are newcomers coming into that frame too, like Amazon for example.”

Amazon Prime currently broadcasts a number of Premier League games in the UK – although Premier Sports have the rights to those games in Ireland –  and also has Champions League rights in the likes of Germany and Italy as well as streaming NFL’s Thursday Night Football games.

It it currently showing the Australian Open in partnership with Eurosport and is believed to be bidding for rugby’s UK Premiership.

Peter McKenna

McKenna also addressed the proposed Cusack Stand redevelopment that has been put on hold, despite the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreeing last year to provide finance for half of the €70m projected upgrade.

The stand was last worked on in 1996 but the GAA commercial director insisted that the current economic situation has meant those plans have been pushed back.

“The (GAA’s) board took a view last February that the economic scenario wasn’t in a strong position, that we should hold back doing any investment, particularly in hospitality and so on before even Covid struck,” McKenna explained.

“We’re in a very challenging environment financially so it would be just foolhardy to go off and do projects like that. We have to stabilise the ship and that not only are the current accounts stabilised but the future earning capacity is stable as well.

“We have discussed that with EIB, they are fully aware of it. They are seeing exactly, not only in Ireland but the pattern elsewhere in Europe.

“It’s a positive to get your plans endorsed by a third party of this size and credibility like the EIB, but they appreciate that we are not going to do anything which is foolhardy until we have our own organisation on a far more stable basis.”

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