The emergence of broadband internet and mobile devices as a means for fans to view sports content both live and on demand is radically transforming the media landscape. Although it's fanciful to think that the GAA would at be the forefront of embracing this digital revolution, they are at least getting in on the act with RTÉ.ie set to stream this year’s GAA Annual Congress live around the world on http://www.rte.ie/ this Saturday April 12th.
Now, while the content may not be too exciting, it's a start at least and means that GAA supporters from Brisbane to Berlin won’t miss any of the key decisions made, including the election of a new president to take over from Nickey Brennan in April 2009. I hope this is a success and that the GAA realizes that it would be worthwhile for them to stream GAA live overseas for the many, many emigrants who would like to watch their counties play but don't have an option to see the game live, or have to pay $20 dollars into a grubby Irish pub at 6 a.m. to see the game. The higlights of National League Games shown on RTÉ.ie are great for those of us living abroad. Why can't it be extended so that those overseas can pay to watch games live?
It also seems that quite a lot of GAA members closer to home could do with keeping an eye on proceedings because GAA democracy is not functioning as it should. According to Nicky Brennan, the motion in favour of teams in Division 4 of the National Football League making a return to the All-Ireland qualifiers (from Wicklow to be debated this weekend) was passed by a previous Congress without many people realizing it was passed or the reasons for doing so. What does that tell us about decision-making in the GAA?
This year’s Congress takes place in the Radisson Hotel in Sligo and RTÉ.ie will be streaming day 2 live from 10am to 4.30pm. The full details are availabe on RTÉ should you wish to tune in.