Ireland and Britain are unique in having lists of designated sporting events that have to be shown live on free-to-air television.

It is only if you live or travel across europe that you realise the impact this has with a far greater public visibility of sport here for all the major events like World Cups, European Championships and more.

It is of course an intervention in the normal running of sport as a business that the most valuable events are reduced in monetary value by excluding the broadcasters with the deepest pockets and the better models to monetise live events. It does however add value in many other areas including in the place that sport has in the hearts and minds of the nation which is a long term value that cannot ever be taken for granted.

Yesterday it was announced by the department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, the Gaeltacht, Sport and Media that an additional 14 events are being considered for listing, on top of those including the All Ireland Finals in all four codes, the football and rugby World Cups, the Irish Grand National, Irish Derby and Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show.

The All Ireland Ladies Football and Camogie Finals were the last ones added to the list in 2017 and euivalence between Men’s and Women’s sport is one of the elements behind the list of 14 events currently being considered again.

The events for further consideration are:

• The quarter and semi-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Football and Senior Hurling Championships

• The finals of the Senior Football and Hurling Provincial Championships

• The quarter and semi-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship

• The finals of the Provincial Camogie Championship

• The quarter and semi-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Ladies’ Football Championship

• The finals of the Senior Ladies’ Provincial Football Championship

• Ireland’s games in the UEFA Men’s and Women’s Nations League

• Ireland’s home and away qualifying games in, and the opening games, Ireland’s games, and the semi-finals and final of, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Tournament

• Ireland’s home and away qualifying games in, the opening games, Ireland’s games, the semi-finals and final of the UEFA European Women’s Football Championship

• Ireland’s games in the Men’s Six Nations Rugby Championship (change from current “deferred” broadcast designation to “live” broadcast)

• Ireland’s games in the Women’s Six Nations Rugby Football Championship

• Ireland’s games in the Women’s Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament

• The final of the European Rugby Champions Cup – should an Irish provincial team be represented

There would be an impact particularly across gaelic Games with many of the matches in the All Ireland Championship shown live by Sky in a previous deal and by GAAGo under the current cycle of rights.

The other area of greatest contention may be in the Guinness Six Nations change from deferred coverage to live. The IRFU has traditionally argued to be kept out of the list as the media negotiations for Ireland’s games take place under the remit of the collective rugby unions.

There has been no threat to the free-to-air coverage in recent years but future-proofing those rights will doubtless figure in the consultation process.

“The aim of designating events as free to air is to try to balance the rights of the sporting bodies to exploit commercial opportunities afforded by their broadcasting rights and the needs of society to engage, as a whole, with culturally significant events, which act as a focal point for society and create a sense of national identity and pride,” said the department statement outlining the consultation process around the new events.

“The review is provided for in the Broadcasting Act 2009. Following the last review, which took place in 2017, the Government added the All Ireland Senior Ladies Football Final and the All Ireland Senior Camogie Final.”

“The review of the list of free-to-air events provides an opportunity to ensure that our most memorable sporting moments are retained on national TV for the people of Ireland to view together on an equal basis,” said Minister Catherine Martin yesterday.

“Watching sporting or other events of national importance together creates a sense of community and national connectedness and should be accessible to everyone.”

“I hope to take this opportunity to deliver on a Programme for Government commitment to increase the visibility of women’s sport. The achievements of our female sporting talent should be available to view on our national broadcasters, providing both entertainment and valuable role models to our younger participants in sport. I encourage all interested parties and stakeholders to contribute to this consultation process.”

Interested parties can submit their views from now until 5pm Tuesday 20th February 2024 at


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