What sporting events do you think should be free to air?
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D has opened a public consultation on the designation of sporting and other events as being of major importance to society.
Events that are designated as being of major importance to society are broadcast, as a matter of public interest, on a qualifying broadcaster (RTÉ, Virgin Media and TG4) on a live or deferred basis.
At the moment, events deemed as major importance to Irish Society and are available free to air are;
· The Summer Olympics
· The All-Ireland Senior Inter-County Football & Hurling Finals
· Ireland’s home and away qualifying games in the European Football Championship & the FIFA World Cup Tournaments
· Ireland’s games in the European Football Championship Finals Tournament and the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
· The opening games, the semi-finals and final of the European Football Championship Finals and the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
· Ireland’s games in the Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament
· The Irish Grand National and the Irish Derby
· The Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show
· Ireland’s games in the Six Nations Rugby Football Championship
“It is important that national events which are of great importance to Ireland be shown free to air for us all to enjoy. Sporting or other events of national importance support social cohesion and create a sense of community, encouraging participation in the event itself and creating a sense of national pride. Having events of national importance behind a pay wall restricts those who are not in a financial position to subscribe from participating and unfairly excludes those without access through a paywall to the events from engaging with the events on an equivalent basis," explained Minister Martin.
The consultation gives stakeholders a chance to have their say on the current list, and whether any events should be considered for addition to, or removal from it. Further information on the criteria an event must meet to be eligible for consideration for a designation are available on the consultation webpage.
Responses can be submitted to the Department via;
the online survey available here
or send a hard copy of your answers to Darragh Hogan, Review of Major Events Coverage, Broadcasting and Media Division, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2, D02 TD30
The closing date for receipt of observations is 14 January 2021.
The Department proposes to publish all material submitted on the Department’s website. Respondents should clearly identify material that is confidential and which may not be published. The provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 to 2014 shall apply.
If, following the review, the Minister proposes to add to the list of designated events, she will publish a notice of any additional events that she intends to designate and invite comments on the list.
Generally, to achieve a designation the EU requires audiences of 5% of audience share. That is the share of people who have the possibility to watch the event that actually watch the event. For example, the GAA Senior Inter-county Football and Hurling Finals had an audience share of 21% and 17.7% in the period 2010-2015, while the Irish Grand National and the Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show achieved viewership of 5.2% and 4.2% in the same timeframe.
In addition, under EU Regulations, to designate an event of major importance to society, the event must satisfy at least two of the following four criteria:
1. The event has a special general resonance within a country and not simply of significance to those who ordinarily follow the sport or activity concerned.
2. The event has a generally-recognised, distinct cultural importance for the population, in particular as a catalyst of cultural identity.
3. There is involvement of the national team in the event concerned in the context of a competition or tournament of international importance/
4. The event has traditionally been broadcast on free to air television and has commanded large television audiences