Good day’s work for IRFU and RTE

Choppy waters these days for the IRFU bean counters, but this morning’s shift in the tv landscape will smooth things out for a while. And RTE are breathing a little easier as well.

The rights deal that sees Ireland’s November internationals covered by Sky as well as RTE brings an extra few bob to Lansdowne Road, and pushes BBC further to the periphery of rugby coverage.

By choosing Sky over the Beeb, the IRFU are getting a significant extra wedge for their product, and also ticking the box that demands they have a high street shop window in the terrestrial market. So financially, politically, and from a marketing perspective, it’s good business.

Typically Sky like to muscle in on an all-or-nothing arrangement but for the moment they’re content to share bed space with RTE. This acquisition gives them the November games for four of the Six Nations, leaving only Wales and Scotland with BBC.

With RTE still on the scene it’s unlikely to earn Sky a whole heap of new subscribers, but it will be interesting to see the reaction of those who have access to both. Given the massive penetration of BBC to the Irish market you’d imagine RTE will expect their audience share to climb given that, with BBC out of the picture, they will be the only terrestrial player here for these games.

More important for Sky than what happens on this island is that they can present Ireland’s November games now to a new audience in the UK. And given the huge interest in the game, which will peak in this part of the world at the 2015 World Cup, all rugby is good for business.


About Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning has been involved in rugby all of his life as a player, coach and journalist. He has been rugby correspondent on the Sunday Independent since 1996, and has been reporting on the game since the mid 1980s when he stopped playing with Clontarf. In 2007 his book From There to Here, a definitive account of Ireland’s transition from amateur to professional rugby, was published to critical acclaim.
This entry was posted in Autumn Internationals, Brendan Fanning, IRB, IRFU, Irish Rugby, Italy rugby, Rugby, Rugby News, Rugby Opinion, Rugby World Cup, Scottish rugby, Sports Comment, Wales and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Good day’s work for IRFU and RTE

  1. I wonder is there an element here too of the IRFU rewarding Sky for being the “status quo” player in the great Heineken Cup re-structure/tv rights shoot-out?

  2. J R Forrest says:

    Hi Bren, great summary. Any thoughts on how it will impact the viewers in Ulster – at least those in the “BBC Zone” of Ulster? I think only BBCNI showed Ireland games live pre digital switchover. JR

  3. joebetwa says:

    As usual the IRFU show that they really don’t give a shit about Ulster fans or Ulster rugby. They came out with a ridiculously Po faced statement about how the IRFU are responsible for funding grass roots rugby but didnt say a single word about why they are treating Ulster fans differently. Are we supposed to fund all of the academy sides on the island just because we are currently good? Or just because we are Northern and the Dublin wonks can get away with it. So much for parity of esteem!

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