ESPN Interested in Bidding for Setanta Sports

According to the Irish newspaper The Sunday Business Post, ESPN has been linked with a possible bid for Setanta Sports. The reporter also mentions that BT and Virgin may also be interested.

If the interest by ESPN is true, it makes perfect sense for the American network that’s owned by Disney. Purchasing Setanta would be an instant ticket to an impressive platform of soccer programming including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Scottish Premier League, Championship, FA Cup, Lique Un and much more.

More importantly for soccer fans in America, having ESPN associated with the soccer network should increase the likelihood that the channel would be more readily available on cable networks nationwide. ESPN’s interest in soccer has increased considerably after a very successful 2006 World Cup campaign with impressive TV ratings, and more coverage of Champions League matches than in previous years.

If ESPN wants to get more into soccer, it’s easier for them to buy a network that already has a strong footprint in the sport than to try waiting years to bid for new TV rights deal when they become available.

During the past year, Setanta Sports has achieved some incredible coups by breaking up Sky’s monopoly of the Premiership coverage, which will begin this August with both Setanta and Sky in the UK covering Premier League games. Setanta also recently acquired the rights, alongside ITV, to the England internationals and FA Cup games in the UK beginning next year.

In December 2006, ESPN announced it was acquiring NASN from Setanta. NASN (North American Sports Network) was a European network covering American sports.


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