Northern Ireland news

International Olympics Committee responsible for division of Ireland's Tokyo 2020 TV viewing

There were complaints about geo-blocking after viewers were unable to tune in to the broadcaster's coverage of the Toyko 2020 Games via their subscription to Sky

RTÉ has told Northern Ireland viewers it cannot broadcast them Olympics coverage on subscription platforms due to a rights decision by its governing body.

There were complaints about geo-blocking after viewers were unable to tune in to the broadcaster's coverage of the Toyko 2020 Games via their subscription to Sky.

It is understood users of other platforms had similar issues.

Among those questioning the block was cross-border university campaigner Garbhan Downey.

"Why are Irish citizens in the north still forced to pay £160 per annum to the British broadcaster and remain blocked from watching the Irish Olympics coverage on RTE?" he asked.

"Surely, there is a iron-cast equality issue here?"

Another Twitter user demanded: "Why is RTE coverage of the Olympic Games geo-blocked by Sky so that viewers in the North of Ireland cannot watch it....?

"I understand why Sky blocks such events when they have paid for the broadcast rights, but this doesn't apply in this case."

An RTÉ spokesman explained that the station can only broadcast what is legally allowed to due to an internationally-recognised agreement.

"RTÉ only has rights to broadcast Olympics coverage in the Republic of Ireland," he said.

"The International Olympics Committee, who are the rights owners, have included Northern Ireland as part of UK broadcast territory for Olympics coverage and as such the rights holders for NI are BBC and Discovery (on Eurosport)."

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