GAAGO to produce two midweek shows during championship that will be free to stream

Tuesday programme will be on Gaelic football only while Thursday’s will be more analysis-based, reviewing and previewing hurling and football matches

Two GAA midweek shows are to be produced during this year’s championship by GAAGO – and will be streamed free of charge.

The absence of a midweek highlights or analysis programme has long been a bugbear for Gaelic football and hurling fans, with RTÉ's GAA coverage failing to include a TV broadcast package in the middle of the week.

But GAAGO, the streaming service co-owned by the GAA and RTÉ, are to create two shows per week during the championship, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The shows are to be made available on GAAGO’s YouTube channel, meaning non-subscribers can view the productions for free.


The Tuesday programme will be a Gaelic football-only magazine show discussing topical issues surrounding the game. But rather than having it in the traditional question and answer format, the aim is for it to be a conversational style arrangement between GAAGO’s pundits and occasional special guests.

The Thursday show is to be a more analysis-based offering – reviewing and previewing matches in hurling and football. All programmes are to be uploaded to audio files too and will be made available as podcasts.

GAAGO’s stable of analysts includes Donegal’s Michael Murphy, Kerry’s Marc Ó Sé, Armagh’s Aaron Kernan, Dublin’s Paddy Andrews, Limerick’s Séamus Hickey, Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh and Richie Hogan, Cork’s Eoin Cadogan and Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer, while more are expected to be added.

The first programmes are to be streamed on Tuesday, April 9th, and Thursday, April 11th, in the days after the opening weekend of the 2024 championship. The shows will stream weekly until the end of June, when GAAGO’s list of exclusive live matches comes to an end, though should they prove popular there is a possibility the programmes will continue.

This is the 10th year GAAGO has been providing live matches to the overseas market, but its surprise elevation to front and centre of the GAA’s media rights deal in October 2022 – when it essentially scooped up the broadcasting rights previously held by Sky Sports – generated massive debate.

Issues with the GAA agreeing a media partnership with a subscription-based streaming service, GAAGO’s dual ownership model and the selection of which games were put behind a paywall, all combined to frustrate and irritate many members of the association.

At the height of the controversy, Tánaiste Micheál Martin weighed in by saying he would prefer to see games remain free-to-air, while the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission even opened an inquiry to determine if the platform complied with competition law, after moving from the overseas to the domestic market.

It is fair to say GAAGO remains Marmite within GAA circles, but it is difficult to imagine a future where there is not some form of pay-per-view model present within Croke Park’s broadcast deals.

“We would be the first to admit GAAGO is not the finished article, nor could it be after one year in the domestic market,” says Noel Quinn, head of GAAGO.

“Like every streaming platform, we continuously strive to get better and one way of doing so is by asking our customers and users what they would like to see, and from doing just that it became clear there was a significant appetite for midweek content.”

GAAGO conducted a survey after last year’s championship, and the questionnaire received more than 6,000 responses from subscribers.

“In the open text box where you could provide any thoughts or comments, continuously what came up was a desire for more non-matchday content,” adds Quinn.

RTÉ broadcast some very popular GAA TV magazine programmes over the years – most notably Breaking Ball, Championship Matters and Thank GAA It’s Friday, while Sky Sports broadcast a midweek discussion show – Inside The Game.

RTÉ also launched a new weekend highlights programme last year – The Saturday Game – which proved to be a welcome addition to its 2023 championship coverage. However, midweek has remained a barren wasteland of opportunity, one that GAAGO now hopes to capture.

“The plan is to distribute two midweek shows this year, it’s a significant step forward. Both of these shows are going to be made free of charge,” says Quinn.

“The reason we are creating midweek content is because we feel there is absolutely a market and a demand for it. Personally speaking, I think there is a gap in the market with regard the type of shows we are going to produce.

“There are some highlights programmes on Saturday during the championship and obviously The Sunday Game remains the marquee staple show for GAA fans, while TG4 do a great job on the Monday night.

“But Tuesday to Thursday, we feel there is an appetite for GAA content. We will have a show on Tuesday, an editorial piece running on the GAA website and socials on Wednesday and the second show then on the Thursday, so we’re hoping to build momentum towards the weekend.”

It remains to be seen if the model for the Tuesday show is an attempt to mirror some aspects of Gary Neville’s The Overlap, but by offering all of the programmes free of charge GAAGO’s commercial strategy appears to be an attempt to increase awareness of their content and analysts, which in turn they hope will lead to an increase in subscribers.

The Tuesday show is to be 45 minutes in length, with the Thursday offering to be 30 minutes. They will drop on those days but subsequently remain available to be streamed whenever viewers wish to access the programmes.

The audio versions are to be widely available on podcast hosting platforms including Spotify and Acast. GAAGO is also looking at hosting live shows and events in the future.

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Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times