Beginning in the 2008/2009 season, Setanta Sports in the United States and Canada will show some of the FA Cup matches on TV, according to a source inside Setanta Sports.
Here’s how it’ll work: Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports has reached an agreement whereby each network will decide which matches will be shown on their respective channels during each week of the FA Cup tournament, beginning with the 2008/2009 season. That will also extend to the FA Cup Final, which will alternate between Fox Soccer Channel one year, and Setanta Sports the following year and so on.
Currently in the United States, Fox Soccer Channel has held the TV rights to the FA Cup for several years. The exception to the rule are the big matches that are only available via pay-per-view in the homes in the U.S., while those some PPV matches are also available via CCTV in the pubs in the United States (via Setanta Premium). Again, that’s how it works today.
Beginning in the 2008/2009 season, the way that the FA Cup will be shown in the United States on Fox and Setanta will be very similar to how Fox and Setanta split up the Premier League now.
For Setanta Sports, this is quite a coup. The 24/7 soccer network now has rights to the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, Championship, Carling Cup as well as foreign leagues. Setanta, in the past, was a nice to have. Now it’s a need to have.
For Fox Soccer Channel, the decision to share the FA Cup with Setanta Sports may be another sign of the network having difficulty being able to afford the spiraling costs for TV rights. Plus, FSC only has one network to show all of the matches they have rights to, while Setanta Sports has two networks: It’s main one and the “overflow” channel, Setanta Xtra.
More details to come as soon as I get them.