Setanta Sports Monopolizes U.S. TV Coverage of Premier League Title Race

setanta-sports1.jpegIn the race for the 2007/2008 Premier League title, Setanta Sports in North America is monopolizing the share of the key matches. This past Saturday morning, they showed the biggest match of the season between Chelsea and Manchester United. And now for this crucial upcoming weekend, Setanta Sports will be broadcasting both the early kickoff match between Manchester United and West Ham United (7:45am ET, May 3), and Monday’s afternoon kickoff between Newcastle and Chelsea (3pm ET, May 5).

What Setanta is doing is perfectly legitimate. Their agreement with Fox Soccer Channel ensures that the 7:45am Saturday morning kickoff and 3pm Monday matches are always shown on Setanta. But you have to wonder whether Fox Soccer Channel is kicking themselves for giving up the Monday 3pm ET slot to Setanta since the beginning of this season — especially if the title could be decided on that day if Man United beats West Ham and Chelsea drop points.

No word who will be televising what matches on the final day of the season, May 11. All matches on that date will be played at the same time. Last season, Fox Soccer Channel had the first pick when they decided to show Manchester United against West Ham.

When was the last time the Premier League title was decided on the last day of the season? At the end of the 1998/99 season when a Manchester United win against Tottenham was required to ensure that Arsenal didn’t beat United to the title. Man United beat Spurs 2-1 with goals from Andy Cole and David Beckham.

6 thoughts on “Setanta Sports Monopolizes U.S. TV Coverage of Premier League Title Race”

  1. I hate when sports leagues sell their souls for the sake of TV revenue. Baseball has ignored the kids by moving to night games, American football is endangering itself by moving more and more to cable (with NFL Network not even available to significant portions of the cable audience), and soccer is hurting itself in the U.S. by having significant games only available on a premium channel.

    Oh well, it could be worse. It could be cricket.

  2. Ontario, if anything, the EPL’s situation in the US has improved thanks to Setanta. Before they came along, a number of these matches would have largely ended up on Pay-Per-View (at 15 dollars PER MATCH instead of month). On average, FSC was showing 3-4 matches a weekend with 2 on PPV. Now, it’s 4 matches on Setanta (5 with monday matches) and 4 on FSC.

    It’s not ideal, but overall, I’ll take Setanta and FSC now then FSC and PPV before.

  3. The only thing I wish FSC had done was kept the 7:45am games, as they used to show them before sharing the rights with Setanta. As, it seems like the early Saturday game tends to be the most high profile game of the weekend.

  4. Setanta has the better EPL games. It is that simple. The channel is well worth buying a satellite and paying $15/month. The best investment I have made over the last year or so.

  5. It will be interesting to see how the rights will be sorted out here in the States the next time they come up for bids. If I was FSC I would look to see if I could work out a deal where they split the 7:45am game with Setanta. Or even better ESPN makes a play for that game and one of the 10am games. Since FSC is based on the West Coast I don’t think they put as much effort in offering anything of substance that early in the morning where if they were located on the East Coast they would be more apt to put more effort in that time period. I really hope that FSC makes a play either the Dutch League or Scottish League if they don’t get the Prem in the 7:45 slot as those 2 leagues kick off games around that time and it sure beats watching informercials when the heartbeat of soccer is beating somewhere around the world……………….

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