Is Monday Night Football a possibility for the GAA Championship?
It is massive in the US and the Premier League use it too so is Monday Night Football coming to the GAA? And if it does, is it a good idea?
Monday Night Football is iconic in American Football. Stats of how players perform in front of a national TV audience are regularly spouted and last year ESPN paid an eye-watering €15billion for the rights to show Monday night games for the next eight years. The NFL without MNF is unthinkable now.
After 20 years of bashing us over the head we have come to accept Monday evening games in the Premier League too but the prominence of the Champions League now means Monday nights are increasingly for lower level clubs only.
Now the GAA are making noises about a similar move for the Championship. The Irish Independent today reports quotes from Leinster Council CEO Michael Delaney where he advocates some pretty big changes from the traditional Sunday throw-ins.
“Monday or Friday games could only apply to games involving counties which are fairly close together, but it wouldn't be too difficult to find them in the provincial championships,” he said. “Monday night would probably be the better option but Fridays could be tried on an experimental basis too.
"The public love Monday night soccer in England so it would be interesting to see how GAA supporters would react to Monday night championship action here. I think they'd love it.
"Playing some games on Fridays and/or Mondays would generate more exposure for the GAA over a longer stretch of the week and enable us to show one game on a Saturday and Sunday, which has benefits too," he said.
For armchair fans it would be great, with potentially a live game on TV on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The situation where some big games get lost, especially in the qualifiers, could also be reduced in this way but for travelling fans it could be very tricky. And that’s before we even think of the impact on players, who hopefully have work to go to. Demands on players, and their employers, are already high. This move might be one step too far.
On the other hand, it would surely increase TV revenue, so perhaps compensation payments for player could be introduced to make up for the extra time off. The idea of Monday night games, in isolation, sounds great but the impact they would have could be very far reaching.
Hopefully this sparks a real debate on the Championship structure but we won't hold our breath.