GAA pay-per-view fight is dead, declares new eir Sport pundit Joe Brolly
JOE Brolly insists the campaign to reverse pay-per-view GAA games is “dead” and claims that he didn’t so much as get a clock after his 20-year association with RTE as a pundit ended last September.
Eyebrows were raised when eir Sport – a pay-per-view TV station - announced their recruitment of the former Derry footballer as a pundit for their ‘live’ National League games package, starting at the end of this month.
Brolly has been a long-time opponent of pay walls in the GAA, but yesterday he said there was no point in “howling into the wilderness” any longer as that “train had left the station”.
Asked by a reporter was he being hypocritical by joining a TV subscription channel that pay walls National League games, Brolly replied: “I take your point, but I’ve chosen to do it. I think the reality is you either become irrelevant or you accept the reality.
“The GAA has made this decision. It’s set in stone. I had conversations at a high level two years ago: this is over. Nobody is talking about it. No players are talking about it. It’s a generational thing. Also, I was conscious that I was more or less ploughing a lone furrow. The debate is dead.
“Nobody is listening. There was a time when it might have sparked debate, but it doesn’t even spark debate now. Look, at Congress on two or three occasions there was sort of half-hearted attempts to change it. The debate is dead.
“I think that increasingly what is going to happen is these sorts of [on-line and pay-per-view] services are going to dominate the market. We’ve seen it everywhere else.”
In joining eir Sport, Brolly acknowledged the attraction of broadcast remained irresistible to him.
“I have to say, I love the public conversation, and that’s a big part of it as well – the idea of being hooked in. I love the telly, I’ve always loved the telly. When I sit down and they put the mic on and go, ‘five, four, I feel excited, you know.
“So, there is a world after RTE and I have to accept in the modern world, the whole broadcasting landscape has changed. There are far bigger challenges for the GAA than this [pay walls].
Brolly was critical of the direction The Sunday Game was going in and believed RTE was becoming bland in its analysis of sport.
“I started to get scripts – ‘We want you to say this, we want you to cover this bit of video analysis. And I was like, ‘F***, get a narrator. Get a newsreader.’
“You see with the newer breed of pundits; for example, you see the rugby players who have just recently become pundits. Because they have come through that culture of saying nothing, they don’t say anything. They’re talking without speaking.”
Brolly was informed after last season's drawn All-Ireland final between Dublin and Kerry his contract would not be renewed.
On the way his RTE exit was handled, it was clear the Dungiven man had lost none of his black humour.
“I was very annoyed about it. Like, I’m a big boy and that’s it. You know, 20 years, being such a strong part of the public conversation. And then there wasn’t even a … I didn’t even get a f***king clock!”
The Dungiven native also stressed that he will have complete independence in his new punditry role with eir Sport.
Eir Sport’s 'live' Allianz NFL/NHL fixtures:
Jan 25: Tipperary v Limerick (NHL); Dublin v Kerry (NFL); Donegal v Mayo (NFL)
Feb 1: Mayo v Dublin (NFL); Cork v Tipperary (NHL)
Feb 8: Dublin v Monaghan (NFL); Armagh v Kildare (NFL);
Feb 15: Carlow v Dublin (NHL); Limerick v Waterford (NHL)
Feb 22: Dublin v Wexford (NHL); Dublini v Donegal (NFL)
Feb 29: Mayo v Kerry (NFL); Dublin v Tyrone (NFL)
March 14: Armagh v Roscommon (NFL); Donegal v Tyrone (NFL)