Virgin seeks more collaboration with RTÉ to keep sports coverage outside paywalls

Free-to-air broadcasters must partner up and split coverage rather than bid against each other, says Virgin Media

More collaboration between free-to-air broadcasters is crucial to keep events such as the recent Ireland v England match at the Aviva stadium from going behind a paywall. Picture: Getty

Increased collaboration between free-to-air broadcasters is vital to keeping key sporting events from going behind a paywall, according to Mick McCaffrey, head of news and sport at Virgin Media Television.

While sports rights previously prompted bidding wards, Virgin is happy to split coverage of the Rugby World Cup with RTÉ, which follows on from an arrangement where the two broadcasters share coverage of the Six Nations.

“It’s the future. If we want to keep sports on free-to-air television, we need to partner. The rights fees are so expensive that we have to come together. We did that with RTÉ for the Six Nations two years ago and are into the third season of that,” McCaffrey told the Business Post.