As promised, some more on the GAA broadcasting debate that continues to rumble on.
The estimations below are just that – estimations. They are based on Championship games only and exclude the many other programmes and services one gets from a television and a sports subscription channel. They also exclude the cost of hardware e.g., television, laptop, etc. and the price of electricity or the internet. Sky Sports prices are calculated for a 4-month period, based on a standard charge. Contracts normally run for a minimum of 12 months; however promotional rates can apply in earlier months. This needs to be considered when interpreting the data. So instead of being a perfect representation of reality, the data are rather an attempt to show how monopolies and “competition” in this space have changed the landscape over time for viewers.
The movement of some broadcasting content to GAA Go presents two very contrasting scenarios, depending on how one consumes the content.
If, however, one is not able to afford a once of fee of €79, and instead decided to consume these games individually (€12 per game), the total cost has never been as big - €616, while the cost per game even exceeds the Sky Sports era. And of course, Sky Sports Subscribers get access to every other sport on the service.
Just like the Premier League, the structural break arrives with the arrival of “competition”. Prices jump upwards. The more “competition” the higher prices seem to go as more subscription services are required. For more on this see Butler and Massey (2019).
There may also be a behavioural element at play in this current debate. If one compares the GAA to the Premier League, the latter’s pay-per-view model has failed spectacularly on two occasions. Once in the mid-2000s and once during Covid. Fans are happy to pay for the basic service (Sky Sports) but will not pay extra per game. It would seem that the public are happier that games are not broadcast at all (only those in the stadium get to watch) rather than having a pay-per-view option.
In Ireland the GAA basic service is essentially free-to-air television. The cost is the television licence. GAA Go is then essentially fulfilling the pay-per-view space once occupied in the UK and Ireland by PremPlus. It remains to be seen if the Irish experiment will go the same way as that across the Irish Sea.