SDLP Sport Spokesperson Justin McNulty MLA had said the GAA’s new deal with the BBC is a huge opportunity for the GAA to grow its audience and participation levels in Gaelic Games.
Speaking after the announcement that the GAA has entered into a new deal with the BBC alongside an expanded rights’ deal with RTÉ, the Newry and Armagh MLA said:
"The end of Sky Sports’ broadcasting deal with the GAA after eight years has provided a pathway for more free to air viewing of our National Games. I am delighted to see the GAA has decided to make our brilliant games accessible to a wider audience and I warmly welcome the news.
"This is wonderful news for fans of Gaelic Games, many of whom were unable to watch their team play on live television in big championship games which were behind a pay-wall. This sat uneasily with many who recognized that Gaelic Games are after all amateur sports.
"Most importantly, through this landmark deal Gaelic Football and Hurling All Ireland finals, as well as other big games, will now be viewed, listened to and enjoyed by millions of people on these islands. The potential for heightened exposure of our Games can only be a good thing and will encourage greater participation, with wider interest leading to greater player, coach and volunteer welfare.
"Our Gaelic Games offer a world class sporting product that can now be enjoyed more readily by a wider audience. I think a powerfully positive consequence of this news will mean that posters of players like Rian O’Neill could now be adorning the bedroom walls of fans in Armagh, in Anglesey, and in Aberdeen."