Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Private profiles - please note that profiles marked as private will soon be public. This will facilitate moderation so mods can view users' warning histories. All of your posts across the site will appear on your profile page (including PI, RI). Groups posts will remain private except to users who have access to the same Groups as you. Thread here
Some important site news, please read here. Thanks!

Joe Brolly says the GAA is selling its soul

  • 07-01-2018 6:27pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 340 ✭✭ Dr_serious2


    Joe Brolly has a very good article in the Sunday Independent today in which he makes the point that the Sky deal, and the increasing commercialisation of the GAA and the GPA, poses a threat to the amateur ethos of the GAA and looks likely to alienate the volunteers on which the organisation is based.

    I know this thread, as any other about the GAA, will be likely to attract the usual crowd who dislike the organisation and love to moan about it. I am far from one of those. I love the games and have played my part in them over the years but I must confess that the direction they have taken worries. There is the Sky deal, the Fenway Classic farce in Boston and the recent stipulation that the Director General must have a business degree. Where is the GAA heading and will counties be competing for the Sky Sports Cup in 20 years time?


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,965 ✭✭✭ TCDStudent1


    Joe Brolly has a very good article in the Sunday Independent today in which he makes the point that the Sky deal, and the increasing commercialisation of the GAA and the GPA, poses a threat to the amateur ethos of the GAA and looks likely to alienate the volunteers on which the organisation is based.

    I know this thread, as any other about the GAA, will be likely to attract the usual crowd who dislike the organisation and love to moan about it. I am far from one of those. I love the games and have played my part in them over the years but I must confess that the direction they have taken worries. There is the Sky deal, the Fenway Classic farce in Boston and the recent stipulation that the Director General must have a business degree. Where is the GAA heading and will counties be competing for the Sky Sports Cup in 20 years time?

    Why do you think there Fenway classic was a farce? Players who trained hard throughout the year get to play in a famous stadium, free holiday. It attracted a lot of Americans - 27k attended. If anything, I'd say that a trip like that is rewarding amateurs players in the right way.

    On your other point, I don't think croke park should be used for concerts in July. It was acceptable when they still had a debt on the stadium but now they should limit concerts to may and early June.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,749 ✭✭✭ Coillte_Bhoy


    https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/joe-brolly-aib-sky-and-other-brands-will-complete-cultural-hijacking-of-the-gaa-if-new-director-general-doesnt-act-36464318.html?defgdggdf
    Joe Brolly

    January 7 2018 5:00 PM


    The fundamental task of the new Director General will be to redraw the boundary between the ideals of the GAA and the commercial world.

    If he doesn't, we are ****ed. It is of course pointless to mourn for an idealised past. The present tense is all that matters. The GAA must make strong commercial agreements. But we must make them on our terms, based on our principles. The dog must wag the tail.

    Make no mistake, the end game is upon us. The failure over the last 20 years to draw up a modern fit-for-purpose constitution defining what we are, and what our relationship is with the outside world, has created a void which the brands have galloped into. The GAA is in the middle of a hostile takeover bid. But this bid is unprecedented in corporate history, since the GAA hierarchy is actively encouraging it.

    The key for any brand is to create an emotional connection with the consumer. In Ireland, this means infiltrating the GAA. With no resistance from the hierarchy, the corporations are invading us at a startling pace. The banks are rehabilitating themselves. Never mind the homelessness, the misery and the daily evictions.

    AIB brought two well-known Sky presenters to last year's All-Ireland football final as part of their 'Toughest' advertising campaign. They make cute videos for YouTube and they both generally come across as wholesome all-round good guys.

    The trick is to buy elite players' loyalty, make them brand ambassadors, give them sugary, hand-shaking jobs like the partners of England's princes, and create images of them holding hurls or size 5s in the midst of crowds of smiling children.

    This is a good way to deflect from reality. Go stand outside the High Court some Monday morning. Watch AIB's legal team at work. Watch the distraught families leaving court having been told they've lost their homes. The street? A hostel? A cheap hotel? Is that tough? Tougher? The toughest?

    They are merely one of a number of corporations who are taking over real control of the GAA. Why wouldn't they? It is, after all, very smart business. And when you can be bought as cheaply as we are being bought, it's a no-brainer.

    To the hierarchy, the games are now 'a product'. It is striking how often our leaders have used this description over the last decade. This is music to corporate ears since, if the GAA is nothing more than a product, then it has a price and it can be bought. Brand experts refer to what is happening with the GAA as 'cultural expansionism'. The idea is not for the corporation to simply sponsor some event or other, but for the corporation to become so entwined with the culture that it eventually becomes the culture.

    This is a process that has been documented in countless American studies. For example, Nike is now so enmeshed in basketball in the United States that it is not just an indispensable part of basketball culture, it is the culture. Nike elite basketball camps have become the gateway to college basketball and the NBA. They are televised on prime time. The Nike swoosh is everywhere. They sponsor the basketball programmes of over 250 universities. The corporation infiltrated the poverty-stricken black neighbourhoods by handing out free basketball shoes and kitting out public courts, with the swoosh emblazoned everywhere of course.

    Now, they are the major player in US basketball, so influential that at one point they even considered replacing the NBA. Instead, they decided to sponsor all NBA merchandise. Swoosh! Nike understood that the best way to sell basketball shoes was to become basketball. It worked. Their 2017 revenue exceeded $34 billion.


    In Ireland, we see the same process happening. Sky, with the support of the hierarchy, have already taken a third of the live games away from the vast majority of what Croke Park calls 'consumers'. Sky knows it cannot and will not win over the current adult GAA generations. Last year, in Ireland, when 1.35 million viewers watched the football final on RTE, just over 2,000 watched it on Sky.

    Sky's strategy is smart. Forget the adults, go after the youth. As part of this carefully planned invasion of young hearts and minds, they have systematically bought a stable of elite 'mentors', which kills three birds with one stone. It buys off the elite end of the game, as a result it gets the full support of the entirely capitalist GPA, and finally it plays very well with the younger generation, who see their handsome, smiling heroes branded from head to foot in Sky bolloxology - 'Sky Believe in better', 'Sky SPORTS living for Sport' and all the rest of it.

    This is only one limb of the process. At the end of October 2017, the GAA unveiled what is described on Sky's website as "a five-year partnership with the GAA on three key grassroots initiatives." Sky will pay for 'Super Games Centres' where "Sky's world class elite sportspeople will visit to meet participants and contribute to activities there." At the launch, Sky Sports mentors Con O'Callaghan and Carla Rowe took part in Q&A sessions with 300 excited children, shipped in for the occasion. Sky also launched their GAA Youth Forum, to be held annually at Croke Park, where its mentors (Cora Staunton, Brendan Maher, Paul Geaney, etc) gush about Sky amidst a sea of Sky branding.

    This €3m over five years is bafflingly/wafflingly described as an investment in "Grass Roots GAA". It is of course nothing of the sort. Sky contributes nothing to the daily toil of running clubs. This is nothing more than a series of branding events, an essential part of the process of cultural hijacking.

    Another crucial component in this process (used in America with stunning success by Nike, adidas and others) is to infiltrate the schools. This in turn is being achieved by Sky through another branding exercise, called the Sky Sports Living For Sport programme. There is a video on Sky's website of Sky mentor Bernard Brogan, our very own Becks, visiting St Kevin's School in Dublin. Bernard explains to camera that "the school signed up for Sky Sports' Living for Sport and their reward is a masterclass with me".

    All the kids are wearing shirts emblazoned with Sky and its logos in block capitals, front and rear. Bernard is so heavily branded he looks like a lifesize Sky mascot, the sort you see prancing up and down the sidelines at Premier League soccer matches exhorting the crowd to cheer. If this is a masterclass, then he should avoid football management.

    The kids do a really boring session to camera. A bog-standard hand-passing drill, followed by a kicking drill, followed by some shooting. At the end, a Sky employee asks one young person "what have you learned?" He says: "Always listen to Bernard." To our generation, it's an empty branding exercise, but it works with the young.

    As clothing retailer Elise Decoteau said of teenagers, "They run in packs. If you sell to one, you sell to everyone in their class, and everyone in their school." Soon, you've sold whatever you're selling to every kid in the country. Which is precisely what is happening.

    Sky are only interested in selling boxes, just as Nike are only interested in selling shoes and gear. Already they have been remarkably successful. Out of a total Irish market size of approximately €1bn (comprising subscription, advertising, and public funding), Sky already take around €400m in both subscription and advertising. Virgin take around €200m, and the rest (eir, TV3, TG4 and RTE) fight over the scraps.

    Another linked part of the problem is the almost complete absence of journalistic criticism. Any journalist who criticises the GPA will soon find he or she is denied access. The comedian and mimic Conor Moore of Conor's Sketches fame was hired by the GPA to perform at their gala fundraising dinner in Croke Park on the weekend of the 2017 All-Ireland final.

    A few days before the event, he got a call from the GPA informing him that he could not do his celebrated impersonations of either Colm O'Rourke or myself and that if he was intending to, his services would no longer be required. We were personae non gratae, not to be mentioned. Conor, a good GAA man, thought initially he was being pranked, but when he realised the GPA was deadly serious, he told them where they could stick their event.

    Sky, meanwhile, are systematically stifling dissent by buying the media, placing expensive ads with a struggling sector. A well known sports journalist and friend often texts me lengthy critiques of Sky and the profound damage it is doing to the GAA. I suggested he should write the columns. He told me he would like to but couldn't, as Sky are important advertisers.

    Outside of O'Rourke and me, who criticises Sky? Instead, it is Rose of Tralee-style coverage. This is because Sky has bombarded the media with expensive advertising. If you put your head above the parapet, as Paul Kimmage found when he was with The Sunday Times, it is liable to be chopped off. 'Believing in better' does not include the concept of critical analysis.

    So, Sky's market share will continue to grow. Instead of the GAA doing Sky and the other corporations a favour by permitting them to sponsor the jewel of Irish sports, the GAA will come to feel dependent on them. The younger generation will see Sky as part and parcel of the GAA. Pay per view will be the norm. Sky will in time become the sole provider of live inter-county GAA. The cultural resistance will be broken by then and the highest bidder will win. The elite game will become something entirely separate, a process that is already at an advanced stage.

    How long before we have the Sky GAA Super League, involving the top eight teams? With the GPA and its corporate partners championing the Fenway Classic series in Boston, and the GAA blindly hanging onto its coat-tails, pretending that it was really their idea, what's to stop the top players being contracted to Sky, touring America to play the big Irish cities, playing super four or super eight tournaments? Make no mistake, it's all coming down the tracks.

    The hierarchy has been entirely reactive over the last 15 years. As a result, there are umpteen Trojan horses inside the Association. The GPA came into being because the GAA neglected player welfare. We now pay this secretive, private corporation €2.8m a year because the hierarchy can't think of a better idea. Sky and others are likewise at the heart of the Association, buying it piece by piece. The GAA hierarchy presents each new deal as 'a partnership', when it is the corporate world that is wearing the trousers. Like Donald Trump's wife standing beside him at the podium, the role of the GAA leadership is to smile, nod and agree.

    The corporations are myth-making machines. They peddle the illusion that they are at one with the culture, when in fact they are systematically destroying it. If the new Director General doesn't see through this, the GAA community will soon be finished off by the brands, and the last great amateur community organisation in the world will disappear.

    The kids won't mind of course, and the journalists won't mention it. They'll just be relieved to get accreditation for the Super Eight Series at Sky Park on Jones' Road, exclusively live on Sky Sports. Believe in better? You better believe it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    cannot argue with any of that


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,025 ✭✭✭ theoneeyedman


    nice_guy80 wrote: »
    cannot argue with any of that

    He's correct in most of this. As usual, he over egged one or two points, but the jist of it is correct. The organisation is going in 2 different directions, one towards professionalism and one towards amateurism. There is a spilt coming if it doesn't change tack.
    The CrokePark/commercial/GPA wing have taken over, and left the much vaunted grass roots behind in many ways. I've been saying and posting for several years about this, and Brolly has in fairness articulated it very well for the most part.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭ LoughNeagh2017


    The GAA lost its soul the day Brolly pulled on the St Bridgets Belfast jersey, a so called Derry man.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 11,199 ✭✭✭✭ rossie1977


    Another RTE guy criticizing Sky, that's new.

    There is a ton of money in sport worldwide and networks are fighting over the limited amount of sport available so it would be crazy not to get on board. Sky's coverage of the GAA is far more professional than RTE's anyway..Sky focus on the match where as most of the focus of RTE's coverage surrounds the soap opera drama between the likes of Spillane and Brolly.

    By the way Brolly is only off by a factor of ten on the Sky viewership


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,697 ✭✭✭ spurshero


    It would be lovely if we could find out how much the likes of brolly has made between paper articles and rte etc the last 20 years or so . Would have a bet with anybody it's over a million


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,360 NollagShona


    Brolly where was he when BoI and Guinness started it all?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,464 ✭✭✭ elefant


    Brolly where was he when BoI and Guinness started it all?

    Etihad sponsor RTE's GAAGO. Etihad!

    I wonder what are the chances of Joe getting his teeth stuck into there?


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,707 ✭✭✭✭ NIMAN


    He's more or less correct.

    Just look at how soccer has sold its soul.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,360 NollagShona


    elefant wrote: »
    Etihad sponsor RTE's GAAGO. Etihad!

    I wonder what are the chances of Joe getting his teeth stuck into there?

    Joe talks out of both sides of his mouth


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,464 ✭✭✭ elefant


    NIMAN wrote: »
    He's more or less correct.

    Just look at how soccer has sold its soul.

    He is indeed. But his reluctance, or, in fact, complete refusal, to criticise his own employer's role in what is going on, really waters down the power of his arguments in my eyes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,248 ✭✭✭ shockframe


    Interesting article.

    I look forward to reading it again when he writes the same article every Sunday for the rest of the year.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,277 danganabu


    NIMAN wrote: »
    He's more or less correct.

    Just look at how soccer has sold its soul.

    His argument may very well be based on truths or half truths but it his motive and vested interest that takes any credibility from the article.

    The needless OTT dig at AIB and the crassness of naming current GAA stars ( you can smell the envy off it) is just childish but again hardly surprising.

    No idea what his problem with the Fenway Classic is, it was a bloody good idea and the more exposure the games get the better, while it might be nice to live in an ideologist bubble about how the GAA works, the reality is that the largest amateur sporting organisation in the world costs a hell of a lot of money to operate and a very large portion of that money comes from outside of Ireland.

    In summary Brolly is a buffoon :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 161 ✭✭ davidx40


    I dont agree with everything Joe Brolly says ...but hes dead right here ....i believe its gone way to far .....and is only a matter of time before sky take over.....i remember back in early 90s when we all put our hands in our pockets to redevelop croke park ....we all felt part of gaa those days are well gone ....when i think of all the money and time that my family and thousands of others down through the years put it into gaa its sickening to see whats happening now .....they dont give a **** about ordinary members that run clubs .....i was involved in our adult team in kilkenny last 2 years ...its unbelievable the way 99% of club.players are put on hold because of the 1% playing interconty....we had one player on a county panel and he couldnt play for his club 3/4 weeks out from a county match ....this intercounty thing has to stop players should be available for all club matches if they get injured so be it


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,282 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    He says the GAA is selling its soul, I say that Joe Brolly is a sniveling, hypocritical little weasel whose opinion means less than nothing.

    For that reason I didn't read the article.


  • Registered Users Posts: 161 ✭✭ davidx40


    Might drive you mad at times and be guilty of not looking in mirror before he looks out window.....but like everyone he does make some really valid points.......i do believe the tide is turning with regard club v intercounty and i do see trouble coming down line ....they refuse to talk to a club player assocation and they have 30,000 members doesnt take a genious to see where thats leading


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,277 danganabu


    davidx40 wrote: »
    I dont agree with everything Joe Brolly says ...but hes dead right here ....i believe its gone way to far .....and is only a matter of time before sky take over.....i remember back in early 90s when we all put our hands in our pockets to redevelop croke park ....we all felt part of gaa those days are well gone ....when i think of all the money and time that my family and thousands of others down through the years put it into gaa its sickening to see whats happening now .....they dont give a **** about ordinary members that run clubs .....i was involved in our adult team in kilkenny last 2 years ...its unbelievable the way 99% of club.players are put on hold because of the 1% playing interconty....we had one player on a county panel and he couldnt play for his club 3/4 weeks out from a county match ....this intercounty thing has to stop players should be available for all club matches if they get injured so be it

    His article in no way refers to, or attempts to address, the issue of club v county??


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 4,115 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bruschi


    danganabu wrote: »
    His article in no way refers to, or attempts to address, the issue of club v county??

    Probably as as much relevance as a lot of what Brolly said has to his point too. What did the relevance of Paul Kimmage have to the article? He compares Nike giving Basketball gear to under privileged areas in America and how they target young kids to being like the sky deal? Where does he get that? An comedian pulls out of a GPA gig? It's an article about nothing really, where he has a dig at sky and the GAA for being a corporate type entity. Sky showed 14 games exclusively of 88 championship games last year. The horror.

    I just await his next piece saying how the GAA should be like the IRFU in the way they have moved on and started being more professional and corporate like. No, sorry, that couldnt be right. He's against that. But he's also for it. But he is against making money off off field activities for GAA. But he makes money for off field activities in GAA. That cant be right. Joe?


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,282 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    The irony also comes from the fact that many people will switch to watching GAA on Sky precisely because of ***** such as him on RTE.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,025 ✭✭✭ theoneeyedman


    Good to see lads engaging the discussion properly.

    Why not discuss the issue, rather than attack brolly.
    Brolly might be a tit alright, but he makes valid points here. It's easy to distract by kicking brolly, but the substantive issues of what he is saying are largely correct.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 4,115 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bruschi


    Good to see lads engaging the discussion properly.

    Why not discuss the issue, rather than attack brolly.
    Brolly might be a tit alright, but he makes valid points here. It's easy to distract by kicking brolly, but the substantive issues of what he is saying are largely correct.

    but its not.

    He is talking about something in the future that has not happened. Now on one hand, you could say you'd be naive to think it wont happen and when it does, it will be too late. on the other hand, he is talking about a "Super Eight Series at Sky Park on Jones' Road, exclusively live on Sky Sports" yet at the moment sky show about 6% of all championship games. Thats hardly earth shattering stuff.

    Its also hard not to take Brolly serious. Dont forget, he spoke of Sky and their "baywatch babe" before they ever even started their coverage.

    And when do we stop corporation or sponsorship? Is it all companies? He talks of AIB and Sky as being the big bad corporations involved. Are any business sponsors allowed? What about sponsoring teams, do we set limits or how does he want to govern that? You cant on one hand give out about AIB and Sky, but yet never have complained previously about the sponsorship in GAA going back decades.

    I get where some see the point. They want to hark back to simpler times when you went out and kicked a ball, turned up for a game, smoked at half time and had pints on the way home. Things have changed. Some say for the better, more say for the worst. But they have changed, and you have to move with the times, even if you dont like the times.

    If the GAA moves to a fully paywall deal, then I will be up in arms. Until then, 14 games a year is not massively on my radar as the GAA selling its soul.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,426 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    Brolly going way ott as usual. While Sky is a giant corporation whose primary concerned is making money, this is also why they are not too bothered about GAA. They have very limited scope to make money from GAA. I doubt many people (if anyone) took up a Sky subscription because of their showing of GAA games. Even exclusive rights would not really help because people here would not take out subscriptions in protest and it would do nothing for the UK market, where they really make their money.

    Sky are showing GAA championship games just to have some content to show. People are paying for subscriptions already and your average soccer or rugby fan might watch it now and then. The rights are relatively cheap (was there any other bidders?) and matches at a time when there is little other sports for them to show (summer is European soccer and rugby off season and time difference means no clash with big sports events in USA). I doubt the GAA takes more than 2 minutes at Sky Sports strategy meetings. Its really just something to offer to people who already have Premier league or their broadband and on demand TV services, not something that attracts significant numbers of new customers.

    The rise of streaming is seriously damaging the value of broadcasting sporting events anyway. In the future, we are more likely to see an expansion of GAAGO where you buy different packages (individual matches, just your county, a provincial championship, etc.). That way the GAA will control the advertising too. The truth is Sky don't have any grand plans to own GAA (it doesn't have enough mass market appeal and sports viewing is changing) and the GAA should get as much money out of them while they can.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,707 ✭✭✭✭ NIMAN


    He is only creating debate.

    Re: Sky and its involvement with English football. Its a very devisive partnership.

    Many folk say they have ruined the game, others will say football now is 10x better than it was before Sky entered in 1992


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭ Bonniedog


    Joe Brolly is a sniveling, hypocritical little weasel whose opinion means less than nothing.


    Would you say now, that you don't like the chap?


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,282 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    Bonniedog wrote: »
    Would you say now, that you don't like the chap?

    I detest him, but the important point is that you cannot give credence to any message from a hypocrite.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,249 ✭✭✭✭ Utopia Parkway


    The irony also comes from the fact that many people will switch to watching GAA on Sky precisely because of ***** such as him on RTE.

    Not many are watching on Sky judging by the viewing figures.


  • Registered Users Posts: 161 ✭✭ davidx40


    Bucketybuck would you give any credince to 30,000 members of cpa the real gaa , every county is now at breaking point over fixtures the county club divede is driving players away in droves


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,277 danganabu


    Not many are watching on Sky judging by the viewing figures.

    To be honest I have seen so many contradictory figures at this stage I have no idea which ones are legit. I do know without a single possibility of doubt that the figure the bauld Joe quotes is bollo* and quite why he chose to downplay the viewership in an article where he is trying to warn the masses that the big bad SKY corporation will bring the organisation to its knees is quite bizzare.

    Bizzare but also in fitting with his modus operandi, he probably coudnt even remmber by the end of the article what point he was trying to make.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 16,282 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    davidx40 wrote: »
    Bucketybuck would you give any credince to 30,000 members of cpa the real gaa , every county is now at breaking point over fixtures the county club divede is driving players away in droves

    I would, but I don't see any article from them about this issue?

    By the way, I am firmly pro-club rather than pro-county and am already one of the 30,000 members of the CPA. But it must be pointed out that most of those 30,000 people signed up online, do not contribute either time nor money to the GPA and are members in name only.


Advertisement