Premier League Could Become More Popular In States Without Setanta

setanta sports logo Premier League Could Become More Popular In States Without SetantaIn its years of broadcasting in North America, Setanta has been both a godsend and a detriment to the success of the Premier League in the United States. It’s been a godsend because, in combination with Fox Soccer Channel, die-hard followers of the league have been able to watch almost every single Premier League for several years. But in many ways, the channel has at the same time prevented the league from becoming more popular in this country.

Let me explain.

There’s no doubt that the Premier League has increased its visibility in the United States. But you have to wonder how popular and how much more successful financially the league would have been if its games were shown on Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN, or Fox Soccer Channel itself.

Take this most recent season as an example. Most of the major matches (and turning points) during the season were shown on Setanta Sports, not Fox Soccer Channel. Liverpool’s 4-1 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United? Setanta. Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal that gave the Red Devils the necessary points to win the Premier League? Setanta. Carling Cup Final between Man United and Spurs? Setanta. And these are just a few examples.

For the die-hard soccer fan in the United States who subscribes to Setanta, this isn’t an issue. But we have to realize that the mainstream soccer fans in America (1) can’t afford to pay $14.95 per month to subscribe to Setanta on top of what they’re already paying for cable and/or satellite, (2) don’t have access to Setanta, and (3) may not even realize that Setanta even exists.

The issue of access is a major reason why Setanta has not come close to the number of subscribers that Fox Soccer Channel has. Sure, Setanta is available on more networks now than ever before, but barring a few exceptions, Setanta is not available on the giant cable companies such as Comcast Cable and Time Warner Cable collectively have 32 million customers. Out of those 32 million cable customers, you have to imagine that the number of soccer fans out of that massive group — even if it’s a tiny percentage of the overall figure — would be impressive by soccer viewings standards in America.

The gradual growth of Setanta in the United States may have been wise in terms of scalability, but it hasn’t helped bring the Premier League to the mainstream soccer audience.

Consider the success that Fox Soccer Channel has had since it began tracking how many viewers have been watching Premier League matches since October, 2008. Even with games shown on Sunday mornings, the network has had as many as 298,000 viewers watching a game. In comparison, industry sources estimate the number of Setanta subscribers at approximately 50,000. Obviously more games on Fox would ensure more eyeballs would be watching Premier League soccer, thus increasing the visibility of the league nationwide.

Add an ESPN to the equation, if they would be able to team with Fox Soccer Channel for the US TV rights for 2010-2013, and you can imagine how much more effective the results would be in bringing the Premier League to the American public.

Sure, there are disadvantages to having ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel show Premier League games. There’s the issue of Fox only having its one soccer channel and being unable to show more than one game simultaneously (Setanta has its Xtra channel on DirecTV to show additional games). And then there’s the issue of ESPN giving priority to other American sports instead of soccer, thereby bumping some of the games to tape-delay (as they’ll do with La Liga in the 2009-2010 season and beyond). But the reality is that there is no happy medium. If the Premier League is to become more popular on TV in the United States, then not every game will be available. Likewise, with a Setanta and Fox Soccer Channel combination, you could see the majority of games available throughout the season, as you do now, but the masses won’t see the games.

The perfect solution is to have all of the games available online, legally and at an affordable price. We’re still years away from that happening, but in the meantime we’ll continue to watch the developments regarding Setanta US and their fight to survive. It should be an dramatic and revealing summer, no doubt.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Premier League Could Become More Popular In States Without Setanta

  1. Christopher says:

    It all would hinge on the idea that ESPN would give the same treatment of importance to the Premier League as they do other sports, I just don’t see that happening.

    And besides that, who defines the number at which the Premier League becomes acceptably “popular” in the States and what makes anyone think that even ESPN can reach those heights?

  2. Christopher says:

    And for alot of people that have Setanta it’s about more than just the Premier League. From rugby to the SPL, Russian Premier League and French Ligue 1 there are alot of other sports that many fans do truly care about–would these simply go by the wayside so channels like ESPN can hopelessly attempt to draw the unnamed masses that might not even care about the sport to begin with?

  3. olivert says:

    If ESPN were to land the EPL video rights in the U.S., you can bet that all 380 matches each season will end up available live in a “pay subscription” package for around $300 each season. Individual matches will likely be on some form of pay-per-view across multiple platform (cable, satellite, Internet) for $10-20 for each match.

    ESPN is in this business to make money. Don’t ever, ever forget that.

  4. dageeza says:

    I think it is only a matter of time before Setanta US goes down.
    Not much sympathy really. Setanta-i is a disaster. No Setanta on TWC , Customer Support , well there is none. All those years they charged $20 in to bars around the turn of the century to watch the TV for an hour and a half.
    Ever tried cancelling setanta-i and removing your credit card details from ther site ? good luck…..
    Just hope whoever picks it up has decent commentators. and NO TOMMY SMYTH and those ESPN commentators on during the last World Cup.

    • Christopher says:

      Long as they still have the rights to THIS season and those rights are paid they probably won’t be going anywhere this year. At least that is my hope..

  5. chris says:

    Acutally the Fox Soccer Channel is not avaiable on all cable companys line up. I had to change my cable to mediacom to get Fox Soccer Channel. I did it just for that and the HD. And also the Manchester United and Arsenal game was shown on Fox Soccer Channel I do believe with the draw to give Manchester United the league title. I watched it on the net and it was from FSC. But Yeah Setanta is not avaiable as much as people think it is here in the USA. I for one would never buy Dish or Direct Tv to get that channel. The prices I have ever for these salliete companys are just ridcoulus. I hear they just keep raising the prices every year or month. Its stupid. Im not sure if Setanta is on cable companys but if it is…its not avaiable everywhere. So our best bet to watch the EPL and for the EPL to make loads of money would put it on ESPN or Fox Soccer Channel like you said. I do think ESPN would handle the EPL wrong but at least we would get to watch the games you know and in HD. We will just have to stay off the internet for a day hahaha. Everybody could handle staying of the internet couldnt they ?

  6. Eladio says:

    “But we have to realize that the mainstream soccer fans in America (1) can’t afford to pay $14.95 per month to subscribe to Setanta on top of what they’re already paying for cable and/or satellite.”

    This statement is opinion, yet you write it as if it’s fact. Why can’t mainstream soccer fans in America afford $15/month? Mainstream American Football fans easily pay the $260 for 4 months of NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. Mainstream baseball fans easily pay the $199/6 months of Extra Innings package to see their local teams play. Why can’t soccer fans pay $15/month? I have exactly $3,000 in a savings account, very little other savings, and my income barely covers my monthly expenses. But I gladly pay the extra $15 to get Setanta so I have the option to watch games every Sat & Sun morning that aren’t just on FSC.

    Don’t use blanket statements like this as fact. You just come off as ignorant.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Eladio, sorry if I came off sounding ignorant (or arrogant), but I’ve been writing and communicating with Premier League fans on a daily basis since this site launched in 2005. And there are tons of comments throughout this site and others where soccer fans complain that they cannot afford to pay $15 per month for Setanta on top of what they’re already spending for satellite and/or cable (which can be, for many, already over $100/month).

      I’m in the same boat as you where paying $15/month for Setanta isn’t an issue, but for many people it is — especially during a tough economy such as right now where many people have lost jobs or have cut back considerably on their spending.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Eladio says:

        I still don’t see why Soccer fans in the US can’t afford $15/month, but football fans can afford $65/month, baseball fans can afford $33/month, etc. Are soccer fans in the US by definition more poor than other sports fans? Or just cheaper? I think you’ve just heard from a small group of people who complain that it costs money to see Int’l football.

        Also, to reiterate someone else’s comment — you’re living in a dream if you think that ESPN will show a large % of games free of charge. I expect that most will be on some new PPV package like Extra Innings or NHL Center Ice, and the cost will be HIGHER than the $15/month. Sure, they may have 1 per weekend for free, but there won’t be the 3-4 per weekend you could get on Setanta.

        • Phil says:

          Because football and baseball are popular among broad swaths of the population, including people with large disposable incomes.

          Soccer, in the US, stratifies sharply – there’s a popularity among an educated, wealthier group that is exposed to international sports more, and is likely to have internationally-minded tastes, and a popularity among a poorer group of first and second generation immigrants. This first group keeps Setanta afloat. The second group can’t afford it as easily.

        • jm says:

          It is somewhat misleading to use per month figures for the NFL and MLB, given that you are comparing a year long subscription to a partial year subscription. At $15, the total cost for a year of Setanta is $180, which is comparable to the Extra Innings price. Of course, those packages give you every game. On my cable plan, for example, I have to spend $10 a month to get the package that includes FSC. To get FSC and Setanta for a year would cost me $300, more than either the Extra Innings or Sunday Ticket. (When I had the option of getting Setanta [I do not any longer due to a move], I had to choose between FSC and Setanta. I also cannot afford any of the NFL or MLB packages.)

          The point, though, that Gaffer needs is that many soccer fans cannot afford the cost of Setanta. This would be sufficient (given his other premises) to show that games moving off of Setanta would be good for the growth of the game in the States.

          Is this true? I’m not sure. It’s certainly a fair point that the total cost for Setanta is comparable to other packages. The question then, is how many people subscribe to these? What percentage of the fan base are they? If these games were all freely available, would there be more fans? On the Gaffer’s argument, it needs to be the case that there are (a) a significant number of people who cannot incur the cost, and (b) that these people would become fans, or bigger fans, if the games were free. The mere fact that people do subscribe to these other packages is not a counter-example to (a). It would only qualify as a counter-example if the Gaffer’s claim was that all soccer fans, or maybe most soccer fans can’t (and most NFL and MLB fans can) afford the package. While his sentence was a bit ambiguous on this point, I think for his argument, neither of these very strong claims is needed.

  7. Kevin says:

    If making the game more popular with the average fans means dumbing down the commentating, putting it on ESPN and not being able to get every game each week then I don’t care about the average fan and don’t want them to like the game.

    They can find it on there own. I will gladly enjoy watching every game each week at a reasonable $15/month rather than some ungodly sum ESPN will likely charge. The problem with appealing to the masses, is you alienate the die-hards. Its happened in all american sports. I hope soccer stays a niche sport.

    • Christopher says:

      I think that’s the real issue. What do we really want? Trimmed down soccer coverage destined to appeal *in theory* to a possibly larger audience? Or quality coverage tailor made for the real fans of the sport?

      I know which one I’d prefer.

  8. Noel Sorenson says:

    Gaffer: of course people complain about spending $15, they always do. I run a business – and everyone would rather pay as close to zero as they can. Comparative to other sports in the U.S. it’s a steal.

    Distribution is the issue with Setanta, but they were well on their way, with great inroads in Comcast Boston and NOVA, as well as impending deals with Cablevision and Time Warner.

    I know you are well meaning, but Fox can only carry the soccer because it gets run of network advertising. They get little direct soccer advertising – not enough to sustain a network. And I would shudder to think of ESPN and Fox in charge if my soccer diet. Things would get moved and canceled.

    So we’re back to a nitch subscriber driven model – Setanta needed a little more time, and it’s really getting there in the U.S. – I’ve been watching soccer in the US for twenty years and things have only really improved for me since Setanta came on board. Before then, with Fox, it wasn’t nice.

    Setanta is the real mccoy.

    Thanks for the thoughtful commentary, but it’s a flawed argument. I don’t see anyone else other than Fox able to support a soccer tv channel through advertising. So, we’re back to subscription models. And Setanta is the only way for the next few years it seems.

  9. Matt says:

    I actually think The Gaffer is right. Sentanta is hard to find and not widely available. ESPN would and could treat the Premier League right. They have so many different channels, not to mention, the American sports scene is barren on Saturday and Sunday mornings during the Fall, Winter, and Spring.

    Also, there’s no way ESPN charges $300 for a new channel to watch soccer (or football, whatever). The only reason DirectTv is able to charge that much for American football is because of its popularity. Soccer (or football) isn’t nearly as popular as any of the other major sports in America, so it would be self-defeating for ESPN to charge such an exorbitant sum. They show USA soccer games on ESPN360.com for free. ESPN isn’t going to charge some outrageous fee.

    • Christopher says:

      Now… if ESPN set a standalone channel JUST for sports such as soccer and rugby, then I might be inclined to agree with you. Otherwise how many different channels will the games be spread over and how many of those will be delayed to make room for every college game imaginable?

      To me it would only work if a channel were created that could be solely dedicated to those sports that Setanta currently offers.

    • Eladio says:

      I never suggested they’d charge $300 to watch soccer. But the MLS Direct Kick package is $79, which comes out to $15+/month. I’d wager that the interest in paying for EPL matches is a lot higher than MLS, and the charge would be even higher.

    • Phil says:

      To be fair, the outlay cost for DTV to provide that American Football package is probably fairly low, all things considered. The rights package is what costs the money. Once you’re sitting on a colossal mass of bandwidth, though, devoting some of it to a PPV niche package? Not that hard.

      So ESPN would probably have a fairly straightforward time with it – split the matches up across ESPN 2, Classic, and Deportes (where I would expect large swaths of La Liga to be landing live), show the bigger games live, and anything they can make off of a PPV service is basically gravy.

      • Christopher says:

        Which be exactly what I wouldn’t like… several games spread across three (or four, who knows) different channels and God knows what time… finding the game you want to watch would be a bit like finding Waldo–only less entertaining.

  10. chris says:

    Well i would have swore the 0-0 manchester united arsenal game was also on FSC lol…either way we both got to see it lol.

  11. Chris says:

    It is unfortunate there is no great way to watch all the EPL matches in the US. I will not pay the cost for Setanta even if it was available as a package from my cable provider. I already get the shake down from my cable company to have an HD box, DVR, and so on.

    ESPN will butcher the coverage if they do pick it up. There is no question in my mind about that. I watch a majority of the matches on my computer so I would love to have some HD matches even if they are on tape delay. I just wish ESPN would notice the potential of pushing the sport on a channel like ESPN2. Its a dream knowing that in reality they will not show a large percentage of games free of charge.

    It is a shame that on a Saturday/Sunday morning I turn on ESPN2 and they are showing fishing or the world series of poker . I would be in heaven if an EPL match replaced that garbage!

    I just hope that out of all of this I can get the chance to watch more matches that’s all I am hoping for.

  12. chris says:

    I dont think ESPN would charge to watch EPL games…it would be stupid…why would they charge to show that and not charge to show us the entire world cup. ESPN360 is a joke…nobody has this unless you live in a big city or near one or something. I live in some bumfuck town here in the USA and this does no good for nobody that isnt able to get this. I am prolly missing out on alot of football watching because im not able to get ESPN360. I havent even checked it out i just know im not able to get it. I do like Setanta from what i have seen on Ustream.tv. There was this guy that had Setanta USA streaming on there and i used to sit here at the computer and watch everything on it. but setanta means nothing if you cant get it in all kinds of cable companys everywhere in the USA. and just your normal call to your cable company and asking for it wont work. I dont tired lol hahahaa. but ESPN is the best route to go for showing EPL games…and im sure it will grow into alot of house holds when people accidentley swtich to ESPN and see a good game going on. Commentators dosent bother me I wouldnt care if they had a guy commentating on there that had never watched football in his entire life. I can ignore them real easy just like i ignore those horns in South Africa people are complaing about.

  13. AtlantaPompey says:

    ESPN is highly visible. Giving it just a little bit of attention, with commercials promoting the matches, a few brief highlights on SportsCenter and ESPNEWS, would give it a visibility that FSC and Setanta will never reach. That exposure will promote the sport and allow it to grow. Who cares if it’s ever the number one sport in the US? It won’t ever replace the established, American sports as the national pastime. That’s perfectly okay with me. I just want to watch the matches that I’m interested in without shelling out too much money or having to go sit in a bar on Saturday morning, paying more for food and beer than Setanta charges per month.

    ESPN must use local announcers, get rid of that damn scroll at the bottom of the screen, and not ‘Americanize’ the broadcast with sideline reporters (except maybe Erin Andrews-WOW!). If they do that, the sport will grow exponentially in this country.

    Oh, and beating the Spains and Brazils of the world every now and then wouldn’t hurt too…

  14. Matt says:

    I think ESPN would probably use local announcers considering they already own the rights to broadcast matches in the UK and will be using local announcers there. Not to mention, it would cost them more money to send American announcers over to England to butcher the broadcast (if you’ve watched the US Confed Cup games, Harkes and that other guy are calling the games while watching the world feed. They’re not actually at the game).

    I don’t see how ESPN could go wrong with acquiring the EPL rights for US broadcast. They could seamlessly plop them into their programming and the ratings for Sat and Sun mornings would sky rocket. They wouldn’t even have to promote the EPL too hard, although I am sure they would.

  15. americantrotter says:

    It’s been a great leap forward, but it’s 2009. I know what technology can do, and I am tired of not having EPl games because I can’t have satellite. I never see my beloved Wanderers, and I am sure that many other non big 4 clubs feel the same way.

    Whatever they have to do to get all games avaialable needs to be done. The web is a great idea, but right now it’s ridiculous that we can watch endless hours of programming from around the globe, but can’t watch our favorite prem team more than a handful of times live.

  16. CA_backpacker says:

    It all comes down to how much of a fan you are of the sports and leagues Setanta covered. I gladly paid the $etanta charge, for the amount of EPL games I watched each week I figured it was a steal at the price. And “Special 1 TV” was an added bonus :-) . If the consequence of getting “EPL more widely followed in the US” is to show less games, but those that are shown are on ESPN at a cruddy time lodged between BassMasters and 2008 Reruns of the World Poker Tour, then I’ll prefer to keep it a niche market and continue to suffer the pitying looks I get from other Americans when I talk about soccer. I’m willing to pay whatever exhorbitant costs needed to get access to all the EPL and La Liga games that I want to watch, I just pray that such an option is there for us hardcore fans with this whole fiasco. RIP Setanta!

    P.S. And can I get an “Hallelujah” from the choir on how great it will finally be when we can get all EPL/La Liga games, all in HD?

    • Christopher says:

      I’m holding out hope… aside from being able to pick from every EPL game each weekend I also follow the French Ligue 1 and would hate to see that opportunity go out the window.

      And yes, bring on the HD!

  17. JLEAU says:

    I also really enjoy Ligue Un. So there is two of us.

    I don’t understand this fixation with keeping the broadcast local as opposed to having Americans. The ex-pats want the EPL to grow in the US but they want it to stay British. I’m an American and I don’t mind hearing an American call the game. I’ll admit that the English guys are better than the ESPN guys but the American guys will improve over time. I don’t watch the EPL because it’s English and if it were limited to English players I’d be watching another league.

    The best option is the one where the most games are accessible. If ESPN get’s a hold of this it’ll end up on 360 and many of us can’t get that even if we wanted to pay. I valued Setanta because I could get it and I thought the price was reasonable.

  18. Jim Mooney says:

    The $15 talk is a moot point when it comes to Fox Soccer with DirectTV. You can only get Fox Soccer with the HD Sports Pack which is $15/month . My concern with losing Setanta is things like SPL and more importantly Championship League which has become much more important to those of us in the US who follow Newcastle.

    I won’t even bother to mention the no HD thing…..major bummer at $15/month

  19. Mark says:

    I’m A Liverpool fan, and this past year through the combination of Setanta, FSC and ESPN I was able to watch 37 of 38 league matches,all of their cup and all of their Champions League matches. Don’t know if this will be possible in the future, but I can only hope. As far as ESPN obtaining the rights and how this will affect the air times, well I figure that’s what DVD is for. God knows I sure didn’t watch any of the 6:30 am Saturday matches live. On the subject of English versus American announcers, I prefer the style of Jon Champion or Martin Tyler in that they don’t feel compelled to spell out in detail what’s happening in mundane situations but rather let the action explain itself. I don’t feel like I need to be told for example that “Xavi is dribbling the ball” or that a winger drives to the byline and crosses “into the box”. Really where else would he be crossing it to? This is just my personal preference and I’m not saying that I’m right and somebody else is wrong. The bottom line to me is the more matches that are available to watch the better.

    • dageeza says:

      or when baseball commentators try to do soccer
      ” the ball pops up into the end zone”
      do us a favor….sling ya hook

  20. John B. says:

    I really can’t see ESPN ever putting much energy, money or time into showing EPL matches because there is little opportunity for commercials to be shown during a game. Soccer won’t work like the rest of american sports that are made for tv commercials. (timeouts, inning changes, and turnovers etc.) They will never allow soccer to become a mainstream tv sport in this country, they see no profit in it.

    • Mark says:

      Good point. Considering that most commercials are either an insult to the intelligence of a 5 year old or an ear splitting assault on the senses, not having to deal with commercials is just another of the joys of soccer over mainstream sports

  21. Chup says:

    Please, no espn! They screw up everything they touch with constant commercialism and overkill. I love Setanta. As an earlier commenter said, it’s not just the EPL — it’s the French and Russian leagues, rugby, et al. If my only choices to watch EPL are fox and espn, I’ll do something else.

  22. James Kilbourne says:

    Gaffer excellent articles on setanta situation.

    From what I have heard, setanta north america is the only part of the company that is profitable. While some of that is a result of the expenses of the other parts of setanta (special 1 TV, GAA coverage from Ireland), the basic premise of charging a high premium ($15) for aggregating a whole bunch of foreign sports whose individual rights are relatively inexpensive is financially sound. Perhaps an excellent solution to the EPL exposure issues and the financial woes of what is left of setanta, would be to sell one EPL game a week to ESPN (if Setantas rights allow it) in exchange for a cash infusion. There are usually 3-4 games involving the big four. If fox soccer gets one of those, setanta keeps one and the best one goes to ESPN, everyone could succeed.

    I started subscribing to setanta for EPL, but I have fallen in love with All Blacks Rugby. Give up one game and you would not lose many subscribers, lose the channel and we will lose a lot of sports that won’t show up anywhere else.

  23. Good subject ‘gaffer’, enjoyed the responses, 15 bucks a month if I could get Setanta? – - is a steal!
    I would need to have both cable and satellite to view setanta which definitely makes the cost prohibitive, my petitions to my local cable (Brighthouse) have gone unanswered and my nearest public outlet is 2hrs away.
    The real issue is can Setanta USA, expand its outlets to include the major cable distribution network, if not, I think, like Setanta UK, the US will lose its franchise and the package will be up for the highest bid again.

  24. Football Fan says:

    Just an FYI, Setanta is available on Comcast in some areas, specifically Boston and Atlanta

  25. dageeza says:

    basically if i could get setanta on TWC in NYC id be happy but it aint gonna happen and that setanta-i is a load of bollocks…
    i just want to watch city mess up the big four league dominace.
    CTID

  26. phurn8 says:

    I love Setanta’s coverage of the premiership mainly because of their pre-match and post-match shows, plus at half-time they go around the league for updates from the commentators at each game. I have DirecTV and pay for Setanta and Fox Soccer Channel. I truly dislike the ESPN coverage of Champions League games, they rarely show anything except the game and often miss line-ups, etc. Will ESPN commit to showing the games in HD? It is frustrating to have those black bars on the screen. The ESPN commentators, for the most part, are lacking. I truly love the Setanta broadcasts and will miss them. Setanta brought us the Special One (IOSS) and they are inspired (the inside jokes are classic), but most people must view them on youtube because they don’t get Setanta.

  27. Ken says:

    You state: “But in many ways, the channel has at the same time prevented the league from becoming more popular in this country.”

    You have the usual blinders on your eyes, i.e. an inability to understand that most people will never be interested in your particular passion. A Foreign League of any sport will not be popular in the USA, ever. People in Chicago care about Chicago, not about Manchester.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Ken, that’s ridiculous. People throughout the United States care about the Premier League. The TV ratings on Fox are far greater than the TV ratings on the same channel for MLS. And Fox’s EPL ratings have almost beaten ESPN for MLS coverage on many occasions.

      By your same logic, the FMF cannot be popular in the USA ever — even though it’s very popular in many hispanic markets throughout the country.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  28. olivert says:

    I will have to disagree with The Gaffer here.

    If Setanta Sports USA were to disappear come August, then FOX Sports Int’l will have no choice but to do either of the following:

    1. Put 50% of the EPL matches during the 2009-2010 season on pay-per-view/pay subscription again.

    2. Sublicense 50% of the EPL matches during the 2009-2010 season to ESPN as part of a new alliance through the 2013 season. One can bet that those matches will end up on pay-per-view/pay subscription.

    Setanta Sports USA was great for EPL for 3 seasons. Will we get a 4th season? Don’t know yet.

    We do know that Setanta Sports Ireland is losing way too much money to be a viable business. The bleeding has to be stopped one way (i.e. a sale of the business to Liberty Global), or another (shut down after being placed in “administration”.)

  29. Dominick says:

    I dropped Setanta from my Directv subscription last month because the $15 simply became the straw that broke the camel’s back. To be perfectly frank, I didn’t have the time to watch EVERY Man Utd game available or every Champions League game. Many times, I’d have to watch “important” games via DVR/TiVo but by that time I’d already have found out the score from friends or my mobile – then I’d just fast forward to the goals and other major incidents. This is no different than watching highlights shows, such as Premier League Review on Sunday nights (which is available on both FSC and Setanta).

    I’ve supported Man United for ages now, but I’ll invest my money into something that gives me more value as a fan. If I had the time to see every game, it would be tremendous value… the fact of the matter is that I don’t. Might this include going back to the local to enjoy brews with fellow fans during a live telecast? Yes, yes it might.

    Finally: Long live Special 1 TV!!!!!!!!!

    cheers//dom

    PS. ESPN/Disney has the wherewithal to get the proper amount of advertising revenue to help subsidize customer subscription costs – the questions are: 1) are they willing to invest resources to such an advertising sales team, and 2) would they even lower rates for customers if they are.

  30. Bill says:

    Call me cheap, but I now watch all the matches on my pc for free. The quality has improved greatly recently, and I wouldn’t dare give another dime to the the greedy leagues and to the Rupert Murdochs and Disneys of the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>