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.