GAAGo: Competition watchdog examining expansion of partnership between GAA and RTÉ

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission says streaming service under examination since May

The State’s competition watchdog says it is examining the expansion of a partnership between the GAA and RTÉ to stream matches online behind a paywall as part of its GAAGo service.

Under a deal introduced for the current championship season, the GAAGo subscription streaming service took over much of the market for Saturday matches, which had been previously screened by Sky Sports.

GAAGo has been under scrutiny over criticism that it means many matches are behind a paywall and not free to air.

In recent days executives from RTÉ and the GAA appeared before an Oireachtas committee, where GAA director general Tom Ryan said the €12 cost to watch an individual match would be revisited.


The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said it had been engaging with the GAA and RTÉ about the service since May this year. The watchdog had previously cleared the joint venture when it was first set up in 2017.

At that point, the streaming service was only intended to cater to overseas audiences of Irish diaspora seeking to watch GAA matches online. However, following trials during the Covid-19 pandemic, the service was later expanded to offer subscription packages geared towards domestic audiences.

“It is common practice for businesses, including joint ventures, to review, extend or change their commercial activities over time and generally they are not limited in doing so,” said a CCPC spokeswoman. “However, if a joint venture which was previously cleared by the CCPC expands its activities, this may amount to the creation of a new joint venture and require a further clearance by the CCPC.”

The watchdog said it had engaged with RTÉ and the GAA this May, “when it became apparent that the activities of GAAGo Media may have extended beyond those previously cleared by the CCPC”.

“The CCPC is engaging with all parties and cannot provide any further comment,” she added.

A GAA spokesman said it had not been notified that the watchdog was examining the expansion of the streaming service.

“The CCPC previously sought information from the GAA regarding GAAGo, a request that was duly obliged. We remain committed to engaging with the CCPC as required,” said the spokesman.

He added the association was satisfied it was operating in line with competition law.

“However, should anything contrary to that sentiment be brought to GAAGo’s attention it will give immediate due consideration to the matter,” he said.

RTÉ and the GAA have defended the new service, previously stating that more matches than ever before are being shown on free-to-air television.

While the streaming service largely focuses on showing matches played on a Saturday, RTÉ primarily holds the rights to matches played on Sundays.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times