RTE bosses were fuming after World Cup anchorman Bill O’Herlihy shamelessly plugged a betting firm he represents as a public relations consultant while live on air.
The senior broadcaster’s firm, O’Herlihy Communications, recently signed a lucrative contract to help launch Betpack.com — a new online betting site formed by seven independent bookmakers.
As he anchored RTE’s coverage of the Spain versus Honduras match last Monday night, the bold Bill gave the betting odds on the match available from Betpack. The blatant plug didn’t go down well with the suits in RTE.
An RTE spokeswoman admitted that the veteran frontman of nine World Cups had been carpeted. The broadcaster said it was aware of the reference to a company made during World Cup coverage last Monday evening.
“While it is not unusual for a sports presenter to refer to the odds available on a sports event, and on occasion to quote the company responsible for offering those odds, RTE Sport believes it an inappropriate reference in these circumstances in which there is a commercial connection between the host and the company,” the spokeswoman said.
The national broadcaster’s disquiet was “communicated directly to Bill after the broadcast by an RTE Sport senior manager”.
She said that Mr O’Herlihy had undertaken not to repeat any such reference.