In different ways, I think we’re all finding the unwinding of Covid measures a bit strange. Do we really want to go without masks on public transport? Who, in truth, wants to return to commuting and the office five days a week? And how on earth are we going to live without having every GAA match either broadcast or streamed live?
As I said last week, this particular genie is now well and truly out of the bottle. There’s now an expectation on the part of GAA fans everywhere that they’ll be able to see matches they’re interested in and which, for whatever reason, they’re not able to attend.
But 2022 has seen TV and streaming coverage shrink back to where it was pre-Covid. RTÉ and TG4 broadcast a number of matches every weekend and the GAA GO service streams the action to those based outside the UK and Ireland.
That, however, leaves a massive market unserved. And it’s a market in which would-be customers are willing to pay for access, as the €50k that the Connacht Council raked in for the Mayo/Galway pre-season FBD kickabout in the Dome last month proved beyond doubt.
This is an issue crying out to be sorted and, I guess, in time it will be sorted. It won’t be this year, though, and so this weekend there will be plenty of disappointed Mayo supporters who won’t be able to watch the Armagh game from their own homes, as it’s not one of the live games on the schedule.
Midwest will, of course, be doing live radio commentary and there’ll be highlights on RTÉ later on Sunday evening. On the podcast, meanwhile, we’ll also be helping to bring our club members on Patreon closer to the action.
As well as a raft of additional podcast content, a popular feature we’ve included this year for our club members on Patreon is a match-day chat function hosted on Discord. This feature really came into its own up in Clones – another match that wasn’t televised live – as a constant stream of updates during the Monaghan game kept everyone up to date on exactly what was going on. In fact, the updates were coming through via Discord ahead of the live radio commentary.
There’s usually a good gang of us on Discord from the podcast when a game is being played. Last Saturday night, for example, as well as Mike, Rob and myself, Billy Joe Padden, Ed McGreal and Stephen Drake were on the chat. Joining us were dozens of club members, many of whom joined in the chat and all of whom were able to get team news and match updates as they happened, as well as see photos from Croker and other stuff.
As we did after the opening three games, next Sunday, as well as running a Discord chat on the Armagh game (which, by the way, has just gone live now for club members) we’ll also be recoding a Final Whistle podcast just after the match ends. That’ll be online for club members soon after we’ve finished gabbing, with the full match review pod up on Patreon as well the day after. So, even though live video may be in short supply on Sunday, there will be no shortage of audio or chat from Hyde Park, which will, hopefully, help fill the gap on match day for some of you.
If anyone fancies joining the fun within the club, for the equivalent of the price of a single pint every month, you can do so here.