SAT, 7AM ET
WED
NOT
SAT, 7:45AM ET
BUR
MUFC
SAT, 9:45AM ET
FUL
CAR
SAT, 10AM ET
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STO
SAT, 10AM ET
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CRY
SAT, 10AM ET
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SUN

Breaking: Fox Sports International in Talks to Acquire Setanta Sports

setanta premier league home banner Breaking: Fox Sports International in Talks to Acquire Setanta Sports

Fox Sports International is in discussions to acquire Setanta Sports USA and an announcement is expected in the next 72 hours, sources confirmed to EPL Talk on Monday.

Fox Sports International is best known to soccer fans as the company that runs Fox Soccer Channel.

In related news, Setanta Sports USA has dropped the Premier League from its list of sports programming available on its network. The broadcaster, which is available in homes throughout the United States and Caribbean, removed all mentions of the Premier League from its site, including the TV schedule, and removed the list of scheduled Premier League games from its broadband site, Setanta-i. Meanwhile, Setanta Sports Canada still has the Premier League listed as part of its sports package.

No news is available right now regarding the status of Saturday’s Premier League games that were scheduled to be shown on Setanta Sports including Arsenal against Everton which will likely feature the debut of US international player Landon Donovan. Setanta’s coverage of the English Premier League was sub-licensed from Fox Soccer Channel.

Exactly why Setanta Sports USA would remove their Premier League coverage from its website is unclear as of press time. But hopefully a deal can be signed soon to ensure that Premier League viewers in the United States dont miss a single match. In addition to the Premier League being removed, the Champions League coverage has been taken down too.

Be sure to check back with EPL Talk throughout the week to read the latest news about this important development to soccer fans throughout the United States.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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 →

92 Responses to Breaking: Fox Sports International in Talks to Acquire Setanta Sports

  1. Rob Usry says:

    Now we get to miss Landon’s first game at Everton. Awesome. Hopefully Fox will do a better job of getting Setanta on Comcast…

  2. Ibracadabra says:

    I wonder what this means for us Setanta-i subscribers. I paid 12 months in advance (from August)… Will I ever see that cash again?

    But in brighter news – Could this mean even more live (and delayed) EPL games on FSC?

    • ovalball says:

      “I wonder what this means for us Setanta-i subscribers. I paid 12 months in advance (from August)… Will I ever see that cash again?”

      I feel your pain. I just renewed in Dec. and in a word, I believe the answer is, “No.”

  3. Sam Davis says:

    This would be amazing. Hopefully they hammer it out in time to broadcast the Gunners/Toffees match (I thought that was on ESPN anyway) but please get rid of that ridiculously overpriced $15/month channel. I’m assuming that FSC will take over Ligue 1 though right? The only downside would be the loss of french soccer on TV here.

  4. sucka99 says:

    wow. wow.

    FYI the Arsenal match delayed at 4:45 ET (and replay at 8ET) is still there … so far.

    there was smoke and now we see the fire!

  5. Joel says:

    It looks as if the Carling Cup semis are still on as of right now. This just sucks, especially considering Comcast just got Setanta in Chicago! Hopefully someone (Fox or ESPN) can adequately cover the rest of the PL games.

  6. Smitty says:

    I sure hope they get this ironed out quickly. Was looking forward to the Donovan debut in EPL. I also subscribe to Setanta for the EPL, so really am wondering what is going on. Would love it if they continued it as FSC 2 and then had it in HD!

  7. CFTV says:

    This is really big news. I wonder if ESPN is going to make a play for a 10am game on Saturdays and the 8:30am game on Sundays.

  8. hunterjinx says:

    Never liked the demented choice of shown matches in the States by either network. Another reason to subscribe, or better yet, view-for-free from an online source. There are PLENTY

  9. ChrisLAGooner says:

    I see this meaning three things:
    1) ESPN is acquiring the U.S. rights to the EPL games that Setanta owned. Makes perfect business sense given their current product offering – Sat EPL, World Cup Qualifiers, MLS. PLUS this would allow ESPN to really pump up Landon’s first EPL game. Giving it credibility to the American fans and the true footy fans.
    2) The FOX interest is a little bit alarming as they will most likely keep the Setanta model of requiring a subscription to this added games – FOX Premium it you will. But as noted above it would continue to build it’s EPL coverage and have Landon to kick-off it’s new service. Further, maybe this subscription would help jump start this supposed HD they continue to under-deliver on.
    3) Or this is just a bunch of B.S.

  10. man99utd says:

    The Christmas that just keeps on giving, EPL on ESPN2 (Christmas early, thanks for the scoop gaffer), FSC HD (coming soon), and now this. If the ESPN2 scoop is anything to go on we should be ok. As FSC already owned the rights it shouldn’t be all that hard to sort out, they’re just buying back and would appear to have the whip hand. This should be the end of Setanta. Maybe we’ll get to see the Old Firm now…..chuffed, chuffed, chuffed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jeff H says:

      If you visit the Premium Sports website that’s been set up (the new company Shane O’Rourke is involved with), they list the Scottish Premier League as one of its offerings. So it looks like the Old Firm will remain in the bars on closed-circuit.

  11. Fletch Spigner says:

    1. This is great news, in my opinion.
    2. $15 for one channel is not worth it and I will be canceling very soon.
    3. I hope FSC/ESPN can find a way to broadcast ALL EPL matches.
    4. If they cannot make #3 happen, is it too much to hope that FSC HD and ESPN2 HD would broadcast the “big” matches in HD and simply choose to delay or not broadcast the “smaller” matches.
    5. I really wanted to watch Donovan on Saturday but if we have to miss that match in order to get better coverage in the long run, then I am just fine with that!

    • Mike D. says:

      Your #4 is absolutely unacceptable. Streams/Online sources or not, just because many Americans are glory hogs for the big 4 doesn’t mean Fox should just dump the matches between the smaller clubs.

      I for one am a Wigan supporter (A), and (B) often times the Burnley vs Wolves matches of the season are more exciting than Arsenal beating up on Pompey or Bolton week in week out.

  12. Mgrayscale says:

    Setanta’s removal of English Premier League games is not a surprise. Their North American broadcast contracts ran through December 31, 2009, unlike their British contracts which ended at the end of the 2008/2009 EPL season. There was no way they could continue to broadcast EPL matches following the chaos they caused with their inability to pay the contract off.

    I hope that Fox Soccer does buy Setanta, however, I would like to see them keep a separate channel. The great thing in the US is the fact we can watch EPL on 3 different channels. This means we get better coverage.

  13. Jeff H says:

    I’m sitting here, trying to figure all of this out. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but I’m afraid we are about to see 20 dollar per match Pay-per-View Premier League come again. I don’t see ESPN wanting to add more, and there’s no space for FSC to put it unless they keep the channel going (maybe a rebranded subscription Fox Sports World?)

  14. Brett says:

    Perhaps Fox will show some live EPL matches on their FSN channels like they do with the Champions League.

    Or, maybe there will be Premier League Channels on DirecTV like their are for La Liga, Champions League, and Europa League.

    I just hope that live coverage of the EPL doesn’t decrease due to this. I’ve become a bit spoiled.

    • sucka99 says:

      the only reason the CL games are on FSNs is because of a requirement by UEFA that one game per matchday be on a widely available channel. Now the DirecTV angle is interesting as they won’t have any Champions League matches in the knockout rounds.

  15. Jon says:

    So far there does not seem to be any change in the coverage offered by Setanta Canada. As of now my cable listings and the channel itself are advertising the full slate of weekend games.

    I wonder if Setanta will now fold up here too? I can’t see the Canadian channel being profitable stand-alone if the asset in the United States could not remain operating. Then again, we’re such a small market, maybe no one will bother to try to buy Setanta Canada. Which would be worse, since Setanta might just fold up and we’d suddenly lose most of our EPL coverage.

    • sucka99 says:

      I think Setanta Canada is part owned by Rogers or something just like GolTV Canada is part owned by someone.

    • Andy Shapiera says:

      Hi Jon (and other concerned Setanta Canada subscribers)

      Rest assured that Setanta Sports Canada will continue to broadcast all scheduled matches. Our operations are separate from those of the United States and therefore we will not be imapcted by any possible change in ownership of Setanta US. Thanks for your continued interest and support of Setanta Sports Canada.

      Andy Shapiera
      Marketing Manager, Setanta Sports Canada

  16. man99utd says:

    I’m not so sure. If Setanta can’t keep it’s $15 business model afloat, I don’t think $20 pay-per-view will work. I’m not going to pay it unless it is a really big match, which means never. FSC needs to make the money, but they also need an audience. Where I’m at FSC, GOLtv, and other various sport channels cost $5 extra for the lot. I would be willing to increase by another $5 to get the extra games. But not much more…

  17. Lance says:

    I’m shocked by all the people saying this is ‘good’ news. This is HORRIBLE news. As of now, between FSC, ESPN2 and Setanta, I can watch every single EPL game, every single weekend. This is a WONDERFUL thing. I am an AVID Tottenham Hotspur supporter and I watch every single game they play. In the current system, I can ALWAYS watch the Tottenham game. If Setanta ceases to operate, I’m only left with FSC and ESPN2 which often DON’T carry the Tottenham game. In fact, I find it seems they all love to broadcast Man U and Chelsea. I will be devastated if I am no longer able to watch every game, every weekend. I rely on being able to see Tottenham every week, in addition to any other match-ups I’m interested in without ever having to worry about missing a game. While having the Setanta subscription is expensive, to me, it is well worth it to get every single EPL game, every week.

    • Sam Davis says:

      I’ve seen more Spurs games on FSC than anywhere else. FSC usually has it’s fair share of United matches but I always see Setanta stealing the Man Utd. matches that I really wanna see. As for Chelsea, ESPN is DEFINITELY all about Chelsea. They’re playing Hull this weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s about the 5th time they’ve been on ESPN in HD this year. Too much Chelsea on ESPN.

      • oliver says:

        Liverpool, Villa, Portsmouth and Burnley have all been on ESPN2 more than Chelsea this year. By my count, that will be Chelsea’s 4th time on (equaling Villa/Ports/Burn but still behind Liverpool)

        • jon says:

          People see what they want to see, Oliver. Chelsea aren’t on more than others. I know I saw Burnley three weeks in a row at one point this season.

          • Brett says:

            ESPN has no control over when games are scheduled. The Premier League/FA does that. ESPN only shows whatever match is scheduled for the 7:45 time slot. If one team ends up getting most of the matches, it’s pure coincidence and by no means some sort of bias towards a particular team. If ESPN had a choice in match, I highly doubt they’d air any Burnley, Bolton, Portsmouth, etc matches since they have less of a draw than the bigger teams.

    • Kennyd'skeks says:

      Spurs will not be shown you can bet of will be manure and cheski tv.
      I watch the championship and SPL but I can’t pay 15$ US for it along with 13.00$ I now have to pay to see Liverpool. Not good news at all.

  18. Gary says:

    There is a Setanta advert in the bottom right corner of the foxsoccer.com website. Don’t remember seeing that before.

  19. East Terrace says:

    I agree that this is pretty bad news for Premier League followers. One less channel showing games will inevitably lead to less live games on TV (I much prefer to see live games than delayed coverage).

    Premium Sports will take the attractive games when they arise (International games etc) but it seems that Fox and ESPN just got the playing field to themselves and I can’t see how it makes any supporter better off.

  20. Brian Chicago says:

    Well, it could mean that better matches get pushed to FSC from Setanta where applicable. Which would be great for those that get FSC HD. Come on Comcast, this could be a deal breaker sending me to uverse if they offer it!

    I would think they would not be able to decrease live broadcasts too, as they are contracted for that, would lose out on money if they did. And we thought the transfer window brought intrigue!

  21. Andrew says:

    if anyone can figure out how to cancel Setanta-I, please post it. Their site is absolutely terrible, and anytime I go into my account or payment settings, it just logs me out or tries and re-directs me. I’m not going to pay this much money for something that I no longer have any interest in. Thanks

  22. MartinJ says:

    After losing Setanta last week, and no response from customer service to my email, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Setanta go under. As some have said, this is fine, provided we don’t lose the options we’ve had to watch almost every single EPL match. On the other hand, having to rely on poor streaming online is also a pain.

  23. Chris says:

    Fox Sports is FSC and FSN is Fox Sports. They can show EPL games on FSN. the is nothing that anybody will miss on FSN in the morning. This will only work if Fox Sports buys them.

    @Lance…quit crying okay…I dont have Setanta at all and im a Fulham supporter and ive not been able to watch alot of thier games this year. Just what I can get on FSC and ESPN 2 HD. Half the time im listening to the radio on the Internet. SO quit crying okay. nobody wants hear you complain because there is more people in the USA that dosent even have Setanta

  24. Team Speed says:

    Worst possible outcome: Setanta ceases to exist, and we’re left with a Fox monopoly other then the very few games ESPN has. Meaning less live games and fewer available leagues (fewer available sports, for that matter).

    Best possible outcome: Fox lets Setanta exist on its own more or less (still airs EPL, rugby, GAA, some SPL, French league, UEFA CL, etc), maybe shakes up the EPL schedule to best position each brand, showing the best of each on its HD signal. Not holding my breath on that.

    While I agree with most that the $15/mo for Setanta is steep its a niche channel that would have a hard time finding sponsors. I like knowing I can watch a match anytime of day/night as opposed to the ghost of Billy Mays. I also enjoy the games when Setanta uses its Irish feed.

  25. RJ says:

    I have to agree with a couple of earlier commenters — this is terrible news. Since I won’t have anything to do with directly lining Murdoch’s pockets, not to mention the fact that the coverage I’ve seen on FSC when Dish showed it for free for a month was just plain horrible, this means I’m probably done with watching soccer. Oh well, there are better things in the world to do.

    • MasterBlaster says:

      Gaffer, in case you are behind-the-scenes asking questions in the next 12 hours, can you find out what the immediate issues are with this change? Setanta was slated to show both Carling Cup semifinal games live on Tuesday and Wednesday, then follow them with delayed coverage of EPL games that are being made up this week. Those still show up on DirecTV as of 10pm this evening, but the Setanta web site has the EPL games removed.

      • The Gaffer says:

        MasterBlaster, the Carling Cup games will be on, but the Premier League games will not be on Setanta.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • MasterBlaster says:

          In that case, does this mean bad things for the two Premier League games that take place this week? There is nothing really scheduled for FSC at either 2pm or 4pm, but I’m not sure if I should record anything for those timeslots in the event the games are to be shown tomorrow at the last minute on FSC.

          • The Gaffer says:

            It looks unlikely that the games will be shown at all on US television, but if they did, they would appear on FSC. You may want to tape those two blocks of time, but don’t be too disappointed if it’s just re-runs and not the games you’re wanting to watch. Sorry.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • sucka99 says:

            FSC has live Serie A at 2:30pm ET on Wednesday – Beckham’s return

        • sucka99 says:

          are you sure? the saturday games are gone but the tuesday and wednesday EPL games are still on the schedule

          http://www.setanta.com/us/TV-Listings/

  26. olivert says:

    It appears to most observers that Setanta Sports North America Limited was either unable or unwilling to pay somewhere above $2 million to sublicense English Premier League or UEFA Champions League (Round of 16 and quarterfinal) matches from FOX Sports International for the January-May 2010 time period.

    English Premier League matches have been removed from the schedule of Setanta Sports USA after January 6, 2010.

    Where will FOX Sports International come up with $2 million to fill the hole in its rights fee budget now that Setanta appears to be tapped out?

    DirecTV?

    ESPN?

    We will know soon enough.

  27. Cantona says:

    this is very bad news… Setanta offered SO much more than the Premiership.. funny how the Shane O’Rourke story comes out at the same time… heard the podcast.. seems there were some OTHER questions that could have been asked.. this was hardly a david frost interview…. seems like we were SUPPOSED to read between the lines… is Fox ready to launch a new channel..? will they sell the rights to lowly GolTv?… hope not.. keep that hudson idiot away from english football!… will DirecTv buy the extra matches??? .. these next few days will be interesting…. i will miss Setanta

    Cantona—

    • The Gaffer says:

      Cantona, to be fair to Kartik, the interview with Shane was conducted last week – way before the news broke tonight. The timing was coincidental, but it’s still a good interview to hear about Setanta’s legacy and the news about Premium Sports.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  28. Joe in Indianapolis says:

    You’re all assuming that no one will pick up the extra matches. Of course they will. They will create new channels. Maybe you won’t have all the games this weekend, but I predict that by the start of the 2010-11 Premier League season, we will have all games available in HD live on DirecTV. Setanta’s death is a necessary first step.

  29. MasterBlaster says:

    At least we know the UEFA and DTV channels are available for use on DirecTV and they’ve added 3 La Liga games per weekend to those channels just recently.

  30. Jason Gatties says:

    As someone who enjoys soccer & rugby, this could be devastating…especially for rugby fans in the United States (far more of us than most of you think). If Fox International or anyone else buys out Setanta US, hopefully they will keep the rugby coverage intact. Otherwise, folks in this country will be left with absolutely no option.

    Setanta has rights to the Magners League, Guinness Premiership, Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup, Super 14, Currie Cup, Air New Zealand Cup, 6 Nations, Tri Nations & various international test matches. Not to mention they had the 2007 Rugby World Cup. That’s a lot to miss out on. Add in the Premiership, Champions League & the other soccer Setanta offers. Wow.

    • Sam Davis says:

      Don’t forget Ligue 1, I know it isn’t Rugby but I really hoping that we don’t lose that.

      Come on Fox, make a new channel, bring Setanta’s content over, sell the EPL games to ESPN, and dominate footy on TV.

      Just don’t bring over Setanta’s $15/month subscription service.

    • ovalball says:

      As we both noted on the first Setanta story this would open things up for MediaZone. They have been shut out of the Northern Hemisphere rugby market by Setanta. This opportunity would be a natural for them. We could get all our rugby in one place. Yeee-oow!

  31. Jason Gatties says:

    If they keep everything in tact, even minus the EPL games, I’d still pay $15. Just give me everything else you offered soccer & rugby wise.

  32. Agreed that it’s terrible news until we hear otherwise.

    Don’t forget that DirecTV subscribers also enjoyed one or two additional live games every weekend on Setanta Xtra when there wasn’t room on the primary channel.

    Where will the 3 or 4 live games that have heretofore been available fit in?

  33. Jason Gatties says:

    Take this with a grain of salt, but Stoke vs Fulham (5pm tomorrow-Delayed) has been re-added to the guide. Now this probably means nothing as the SetantaUS.com guide has been tweaked like 20 times today and this is about the 5th time I’ve seen the fixture re-added only to be taken down later.

  34. Jay says:

    Sounds like it’s time for ESPN to finally roll out “The Ocho” to show all this content. EPL and dodgeball will be shown 24/7!

  35. Chris says:

    im gonna miss Arsenal v Everton. this is not good for my rage.

  36. Jay says:

    Guys its 2010

    If you have a computer with a decent internet connection you can watch every premier league game live. Its not a big deal if you don’t have a certain channel, there are many ways to get around that.

    • Jason Gatties says:

      The Premier League are becoming experts at getting illegal streams taken down. If you are relying on illegal streams, good luck with that.

    • Mike D. says:

      That’s not entirely true… wait until the back end of the season when nearly all the matches are simulcast. Wigan is always the first to have 0 streams.

      Typically I could get their match on delay on FSC or Setanta.

  37. Evertonian says:

    Gutted

  38. sean says:

    Who is the brain dead idiot that allowed this to happen at the middle of the season? It should have happened before or after the season.

    I hated the subscription price but I loved being able to see all the weekend’s matches on either FSC, Setanta, and ESPN 2.

  39. jilld says:

    It’s not all bad guys — this should be Fox’s chance to bid for Paul Dempsey and get him to come to the States to front all their soccer

  40. Hauler says:

    This is horrible. Now if they close the doors at setanta I will have to upgrade my package through Directv or through my local cable provider which is not cool. I will have to spend more money in order to watch the games through ESPN, FSC, and others which in the long run costs more cause of Directv’s stupid combination of their channels. It really is a bad thing for all of us to have to go through and Directv doesn’t even know what is going on. This sucks.

  41. Gabriel Costa says:

    @Jason Gatties,

    That is not true. I’ve watched every English, Spanish, and Italian football fixture that I have wanted to watch through the internet for the past 3 years solid. You have to know where to look, champ.

  42. Hubie McDonough says:

    I’m just a little confused about this. As far as I understand FSC sublicences EPL rights to both Setanta (and ESPN2). If what I read is correct the sublicense with Setanta ended on 12/31/09. So why the need to buy Setanta entirely? Is the plan to acquire all of Setanta’s rights holdings and sublicesne those as well? Or create a separate premuim channel?

  43. jmansor says:

    I agree this is bad. Even if the EPL re-appears on another channel. I love French Soccer but I don’t think it can support a whole pay channel. Oh well I liked the status quo.

  44. tlunt says:

    The ‘Hull vs Chelsea’, ‘Arsenal vs Everton’, ‘Birmingham vs MU’ matches are still listed on Setanta-i for Saturday. Sunday I see ‘West Ham vs Wolves’ and ‘Fulham vs Portsmouth’ listed.

  45. BergkampWndrlnd says:

    Live BPL: Arsenal vs. Bolton
    LIVE Barclays Premier League action from North London as the Gunners take on the Trotters. This programme replaces the Carling Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg: Man City v Man United which was postponed due to snow.

    Says tomorrow’s game is still live on Setanta at 2:45 ET.

  46. James Hill says:

    Great news, more football and less of that awful rugby rubbish they insist on showing.

  47. Navin J says:

    All EPL Games have been removed from Setanta i scheduling

  48. jmansor says:

    Has it been 72 hours yet? I am waiting with bated breath for this announcement.

  49. dabes2 says:

    If FSC just regained rights to EPL matches they had sub-licensed to SetantaUSA, then they might show Everton-Arsenal instead of the Aston Villa – Wigan Saturday morning.

    Long-term, obviously, there’s now more EPL games than FSC can show on their current channel and they will want to sub-license again. I have to assume that ESPN outbids Setanta and Setana craters. But if I were Fox, I might try and distribute through another Fox outlet for a few weeks and see what ratings they get. Not sure what FX has going on Saturday mornings.

  50. Kennyd'skeks says:

    When I check my que for EPL matches on Setanta they are now SPL but I am not paying 15 US month for no EPL

  51. Jason Prior says:

    Any announcements as to who is going to pick up the Setanta-scheduled matches for this weekend? And beyond?

    • The Gaffer says:

      No announcements right now, Jason. But at this rate, it looks like many of the Premier League games may be postponed anyway, so be ready for lots of changes this weekend in terms of which games will be shown and on which channel, etc.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  52. paulthebubble says:

    I’m gutted. Will West Ham-Wolves be shown somewhere?? Will Fox or ESPN2
    pick it up? Sort it out before Sunday! I just heard Hull-Chelsea is now off. I’ve enjoyed the coverage of Fox and Setanta and how I’ve been able to see the Hammers almost every week and also the Champions League matches. I’m not too keen on ESPN as they are not very big on football. Bad news but at least it won’t be like the dark days of the 80′s when NOTHING was on and the only coverage was via BBC World Service radio with Paddy Feeney.

  53. paulthebubble says:

    I just remembered Soccer Made in Germany with Toby Charles.

  54. paulthebubble says:

    Cheers for this!
    It’s the Equalizer…

  55. sucka99 says:

    lol seems this story and all it’s machinations would have been the perfect opportunity to dust off soccerondish.com

  56. I just remembered Soccer Made in Germany with Toby Charles.

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