The FAI has confirmed details of a partnership with RTÉ and GAAGo to carry live streams of all SSE Airtricity Premier League matches for the first 14 weeks of the season at least, and an exciting new streaming deal with the creation of a new platform LOITV which will stream every game from the SSE Airtricity First Division and the Women’s National League.

Mainstream TV is also confirmed with RTÉ having the first pick for the exclusive live transmission of Friday night football through the season.

The return of the WATCHLOI service after a baseline pilot during the return to games mid pandemic last season was flagged earlier in the week but the creation of the new LOITV gives a potentially viable alternative should the costs of full production service prove to much in the event of fewer fans willing to pay the expected less than €5 per match to see their teams in action.

LOITV will stream all SSE Airtricity First Division matches for the season, as well as a free to air stream for all games in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League.

It will do so through the Pixellot system which uses artificial intelligence with HD cameras to deliver coverage from each of the grounds.

The Israel based Pixellot systems have been in use at the German lower leagues since 2017, by Israeli football and others in more than 30 countries around the world.

They are also used by Barcelona FC as a training aid. Coverage from all the games will be made available to all the coaching staff at the clubs as well.

Pricing for WATCHLOI Premier Division and LOITV First Division and details for season ticket holders will be announced before the start of the season and more on the new deals is expected to emerge from media briefings that new FAI CEO Jonathan Hill will conduct this morning.

The system allows for a lower cost stream to be delivered and for individual pricing as well as broadcast sponsorship deals that could yield revenue for the clubs.

Nobody can forecast the endgame when it comes to streaming but it is becoming the norm for sporting bodies that cannot guarantee the old model of mainstream TV for everyone but still see the value in presenting a free, sponsored or paid service to niche audiences.

It is a bold move and one that puts the option of how much they want it in the hands of the clubs and the fans.

The new broadcast deal with RTÈ Sport will see 60+ SSE Airtricity Premier Division matches broadcast live across RTÈ TV and the WATCHLOI platform on up until the mid-season break in June.

RTÈ Sport will cover all production costs for WATCHLOI with all profits from the platform set to go straight to the Premier Division clubs.

The WATCHLOI platform will return with the free to air offering of the FAI President’s Cup between Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk on Friday, March 12, with kick-off at 7.45 pm.

Friday Night Football coverage on RTE commences with the SSE Airtricity Premier Division game between Shamrock Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic on Friday, March 19, followed by Waterford v Sligo Rovers on Friday, March 26 and Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk on April 2.

Sport for Business Partners