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Setanta Sports US Service to End February 28, Reports Say

setanta sports logo Setanta Sports US Service to End February 28, Reports SayWhen Setanta Sports US hands back the TV rights to the Premier League and Champions League on February 28, 2010 which it had sub-licensed from Fox Soccer Channel, that will be Setanta’s last day in business according to a Setanta affiliate mentioned in industry publication Multichannel News.

The Setanta affiliate also mentioned that “the notification process to customers [that Setanta would be ceasing service] would begin on January 28.” A crawl and voice messaging to that effect are to appear on the premium channel, while customers would also receive written notice.

Meanwhile, discussions by Fox Soccer Channel to acquire Setanta Sports are still ongoing and no agreement has been publicized as of yet. Whether Setanta Sports US will become Fox Soccer Plus on March 1 or whether Setanta will simply perish away is not known at this time.

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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.
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66 Responses to Setanta Sports US Service to End February 28, Reports Say

  1. Sam Davis says:

    Surely this decision to cease service is prompted by more than just the realization that without the EPL rights, Setanta probably couldn’t survive?

    Fox had better not let Setanta’s non-EPL content just go away like that.

    Am I right in assuming that Fox’s EPL rights include the various cup competitions (Carling Cup in particular) that Setanta used to broadcast as well or is it just the Prem?

    One Serie A match on FSC and one Ligue Un match on FSC+ please. Surely they have room for French soccer.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Sam, Fox’s EPL rights are for the Prem only, not Carling Cup. The Carling Cup rights are owned by Setanta, but they made a deal last year to share some of those with ESPN (for their 360 broadband channel).

      The Gaffer

  2. Jesse chula says:

    My DirecTV bill just went down by $15. Good work again Gaff.

  3. Fletch Spigner says:

    Yep, this is great news for my DirecTV bill!!

  4. It will be a sad day. Despite all the negative comments we have heard and will continue to hear about the monthly charge for the channel, Setanta was a major player in bringing the Premiership to the relative prominence it now enjoys in the United States. For those with short memories, allow me to remind you that it was only a few years ago that there was only one 15.00 kickoff available in the US and it was available on a PPV basis for $20 a match. The same went for one of the matches on Sundays. When simulcasting the feed from their Irish channel, Setanta also provided the best studio analysis available on this side of the Atlantic. Add their expanded coverage of the Champions League, Football League and other European competitions both football and not and you have more than enough quality for your $15.

    Coverage of football and other European sport has come a long way over the last few years and that progress is largely thanks to Setanta. Surely we’re on to bigger and better things, but I will be forever grateful for all of the wonderful things Setanta has brought into my home.

    • RIP says:

      TV stations can always improve but I think that Setanta was well worth the money. I don’t know how soccer fans can be happy it is going away. I will miss the studio commentators during the intermission of the Saturday 10AM game.

    • brn442 says:

      Well said, it’s easy to forget that just a few years ago we were lucky to get two live matches per weekend, plus the top of the table clashes were most likely on PPV

  5. Kidslumber says:

    FSC has a chance to do something really special here. “A giant leap for football-kind” so to speak. The sooner this deal gets done the better. There will have to be #’s, etc. worked out with cable/sat providers and the quicker this gets done the better chance for a smooth transition with no lapse in service.

  6. RedMD says:

    Perhaps a dumb question, but am I correct to assume that Setanta-i goes away as of the day Setanta USA dies?

    • Very good question. I would assume so, at least for the North American version of Setanta-i. Perhaps the Gaffer can shed some light on this.

      • The Gaffer says:

        Good question, but no information at this time. If Setanta US goes under, I believe we won’t have access to any longer. Still up in the air right now, though.

        The Gaffer

      • Simon Burke says:

        Good luck getting your money back on Setanta I – how they work that out is anyone’s guess but Setanta have never struck me as willing to part with money despite the fact I like the channel and its content.

        • Raatzie says:

          Even before the report that they were going under, when we just knew that they were losing the EPL and UCL rights, I wrote them cancelling my subscription effective 3/1 and demanding a refund (I was a yearly subscriber). I was told the refund would post to my account in 10 days. I’ll keep you posted.

  7. Cantona says:

    if this is true.. this indeed is a sad day for football fans in the USA… Setanta did alot of things right.. not so from a business model.. but swapping FSC+ for Setanta… means nothing more than lost content… yes we get HD.. but for me.. honestly its not a “big deal”… i remember being in Mexico for Euro 2008 and watching the games on a 27″ black and white and still feeling all the excitement I had when I watched the games back in the USA in all the widescreen colour glory… i seriously doubt we will see Ligue 1, Russia Premier League,Championship, as much as we did on Setanta…. I am glad to some extent that FSC is adding another channel .. of course I will buy it.. but the true Niche content for me as a ex-pat has disappeared.. so good buy rugby, gallic games.. alot of the other content i randomly watched on my beloved Setanta… you were a class act .. you will be missed…


    • Sam Davis says:

      The loss of Ligue 1 will really piss me off if it does indeed happen. Perhaps they’ll sublicense some of the games a few other stations but I can seriously see them airing two Serie A matches on FSC and FSC+ when they could be showing Serie A on FSC and Ligue Un on FSC+ (I know I’m sounding like a broken record lamenting the potential loss of French soccer but it’s a bit of a big deal to me).

      There’d also be no excuse not to air the Russian Premier League as well considering it comes on well before any other live matches that they might be showing (but during the same time as their fucking paid programming). As for the Championship, I’m not sure where they’d be able to fit that in unless they sublicensed it or did a Setanta Xtra type deal.

      I know that quite a few people are interested in it, but if they had to get rid of Rugby to show more soccer on FSC I wouldn’t be too angry but something tells me that the cuts may not stop with just Rugby (which almost surely won’t make it over to FSC or FSC+). Here’s to hoping that DirecTV cuts a similar deal like what they did with the CL and the La Liga matches that they air from time to time (haven’t seen many of those in awhile though to be honest…).

      • RIP says:

        I will miss French soccer too. Which is going to be worse because Setanta was showing more games this year. What I think it is strange is that when Setanta UK was going under everyone talked about how profitable Setanta USA was. I guess that wasn’t true.

  8. Chris says:

    all the people cheering this need to f**k off and respect what setanta has done for football coverage here. freeloading sacks of s**t.

    • MNUfan1991 says:

      +1, Chris
      For $15 I watch some 6-8 games a month on Setanta-i. If one wants cheaper entertainment they should just go watch paint dry.

  9. Steve says:

    Other than FOX getting back the EPL and Champions League TV rights from Setanta when Setanta goes off the air, if FOX doesn’t want the rest of Setanta TV rights like the Carling Cup, Championship League, Ligue 1, etc., could ESPN somehow get those rights from FOX? You can air the games on ESPN Classic.

    • olivert says: has been ESPN’s destination for niche soccer products for the last two years.

      Soccer does NOT fit on ESPN Classic except during an overflow situation (i.e. a match scheduled for ESPN2 has to be bumped by more profitable programming due to issues with weather or another live event on ESPN2 running past the alloted time slot.)

  10. Tony says:

    any word on what Fox will do with Rugby and GAA? turning them over to ESPN360 maybe?

    • The Gaffer says:

      No word, but if there’s anyone out there interested in buying those rights, you can probably get them on the cheap right now.

      Maybe Premium Sports will buy them off Setanta and show the games on PPV via home or pubs?

      The Gaffer

      • alex says:

        The Premium Sports website has been advertising GAA and Six Nations rugby, dunno if they actually own those rights or were just reselling Setanta’s rights though.

  11. jilld says:

    Amplified to Rock — I am with you. Setanta’s studio analysis from their Irish channel — Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan — WAS miles ahead. Fox should try and get these guys. Dempsey was one of the main men on Sky for nearly 20 years wiith Tyler/Gray and the rest — then he moved back to Dublin. But I hear he has family in the States and having covered boxing as well here many times — he knows the scene. He’s a natural.

  12. Raatzie says:

    I had Setanta online/-i for two years. Well, a year and a half (see above).

    The first year, when I got 7:45 Saturday (if any), 10:00 on -i and Xtra, 8:30 Sunday, and 3 Monday (if any) was great. Even better when they finally upgraded the online viewer.

    This year (no Saturday, no Monday and no Xtra for the same price) much less so, especially when the ESPN2 deal was announced AFTER my annual subscription renewed in early August.

    But I get the feeling that even with Fox Soccer Plus, the days of 3-5 extra games a week are over.

  13. hoser says:

    sad day I’ve been a Setanta subscriber since day one…all I care is about the Carling Cup and watching Super Leeds… I have access to espn360 and Leeds aren’t going to be on Setanta anytime soon… there goes my subscription hopefully someone picks up the football league rights…

  14. JerseyMac says:

    Could anybody tell me what’s going to happen to Setanta Canada.How will takeover effect Canada? I was planning to get Setanta this summer to watch the World Cup. :<

    • The Gaffer says:

      JerseyMac, Setanta Canada is unaffected, and is owned by a different group than the US version. Not sure about World Cup coverage in Canada, but maybe one of the fellow readers can post to let us know which Canadian networks will be televising this summer’s World Cup.

      The Gaffer

      • Erik says:

        CBC will be airing every WC2010 match live in HD, with a schedule of prime-time repeats. Also CBSsports-dot-ca will stream all games live and then make them available on demand. Here’s a blog entry about it, which also gives a link to a fuller podcast:

        As for the Setanta deal, ugh. Too bad they couldn’t keep it up. I enjoyed their coverage and the increased exposure they gave the USA to high quality football. Now I make my bed in the Great White North and subscribe to Setanta-i, which I hope does not go away.

        Amplified, love your contributions over at MaXxed. Especially of late with the ACN.

  15. Smitty says:

    I don’t understand all the hatred towards Setanta. I personally loved it. For just 50 cents a day I could guarantee that I would have the opportunity to see every Premier League match and every Champions League game. Even if they weren’t live, I could still see them delayed. And lets face it, as long as the ESPN ticker didn’t blow it for you, you had a great shot of seeing them without knowing what had happened. Not that many people talk soccer… so it was a great offering I thought, and yes, it did cost 15 dollars, and yes it would have been better in HD, but the Carling Cup, FA Cup, Premier League, and Champions League offerings were solid. Now we don’t know what we will get. Fox Soccer HD sounds good in theory, as does Fox Soccer +, but who knows what they will cover and for how much, or when they will actually roll out and then be picked up by what carriers. I just know I, like the Gaffer in his earlier article, think this is too bad – especially since none of us know for sure what it will be replaced with…

  16. fsquid says:

    Setanta has been a fine channel for me since 2005. I subscribed to it solely to watch Sheffield Wednesday in the League 1 playoffs. However, I’ve come to love watching Rugby and I was able to start watching the AFL which I watched in college on the old Fox Sports World.

    I will miss it and its a shame that they will cut it off during the 6 Nations tourney. Their last broadcast will probably be the Carling Cup Final.

  17. daveg says:

    the demise of ANY channel that shows ANY football is a BAD thing
    I was an i-subscriber for 2 years but let my subscription expire in November as I was concerned about this happening and I can easily get quality free streams of games to fill in any gaps (including a really solid setanta stream)
    I was an an Irish pub on friday and the owners were told that their Rugby and GAA feeds were business as usual from setanta (I asked was that coming from Premium Sports or Setanta??? they didn’t really know or care as long as they got what they had already paid for)
    I have a very bad feeling that Fox Plus HD will reflect poor production values and cheapskate intros and analysis and will be a poor second choice to what we got from setanta feeds.
    I HOPE I am wrong

  18. Robert George says:

    RIP Setanta Sports now lets wait and see how Murdoch is gonna ruin the EPL coverage in the US.

  19. gas says:

    Does anyone know where to officailly watch the remainder of this prem season and the World Cup in the summer with only online access?

    • gas, might be your only legal means of watching the Premiership online once Setanta folds. As for the World Cup, my understanding is that ESPN will be broadcasting all matches on ESPN360 as they did four years ago. I’m not sure if that’s 100%, though. Perhaps the Gaffer can confirm?

      • The Gaffer says:

        Amp, correct on both counts. Thanks.

        The Gaffer

        • olivert says:

 is supposed to stream all 64 World Cup matches online in Spanish to U.S. residents.

 is only able to stream 52 World Cup matches online in English to U.S. residents because the affiliate agreements ABC signed with affiliates prohibit online streaming of the 12 matches to be aired in English on ABC.

          I suspect will get around the ABC restriction by streaming those 12 matches in Portuguese or some other language.

  20. Dave C says:

    Have any of the Man U fans out there tried MUTV online? If so, how’s the quality of the video? Also, for ESPN360 users, how good is quality of that stream? Setanta-i’s high quality stream looked great on my 40inch flat screen and hoping these services have quality streams as well. Hopefully DSL will be able to deliver (have 6mps cable right now).

  21. ju-ac says:

    Setanta website says that they show all 15 Six Nations rugby matches, but BBC America announced that they will be broadcasting 5 Six Nations matches live. Is this more indication that Setanta-US is going under? Are they selling off their rugby rights?


  22. Clair Wyant says:

    Has anyone thought it might be a good idea for BBC America to rebroadcast some of the EPL recaps they show in England? I used to watch them during my time there & I do not see why they cannot be shown here.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I’ve asked BBC America about this one before but they don’t own the TV rights to the EPL TV highlights in the States – Fox does. Still, we can dream! :)

      The Gaffer

  23. Jason says:

    I’ve heard Setanta-I will continue past the shut off day as the broadband arm of Premium Sports.

  24. olivert says:

    This is now official: Setanta Sports USA will go dark on Sunday February 28 at midnight Eastern Time.

    RCN in Boston is running the following scrolling message:

    “Effective Feb 28, 2010, Setanta Sports will cease it’s US broadcast operations and will no longer be on the air. Contact 1-800-RING-RCN if you have any questions.”

  25. arsenalyevo says:

    so wait does this mean the Carling cup final wont be aired?!

    • The Gaffer says:

      Arsenalyevo, the Carling Cup will be Setanta’s swansong (i.e. final live English football match they’ll show on the channel). February 28th will be their final day, which is the same day as the Carling Cup Final.

      The Gaffer

      • boringarsenal says:

        Gaffer, I wonder if Fox Soccer + will pick-up the Football League play-offs? I’ve always loked forward to these promotion play-offs, without Setanta, I’m worried that these matches won’t make the cut.
        Any news on this?

        • The Gaffer says:

          No word yet. Fox is being pretty tightlipped about the rights that Setanta currently owns, as well as the launch of FSC+.

          We’ll find out sooner or later.

          The Gaffer

        • olivert says:

 is supposed to have the English Football League via a sublicense from Setanta Sports North America Limited.

          The English League Cup final should be on both Setanta Sports USA and

          Don’t know yet about the promotion playoffs.

  26. ovalball says:

    For those with Setanta-i, I just received this in response to my question about service after Feb 28th and my yearly subscription:

    “As far as I know we will still be running but if not you will receive a pro-rata refund.”

    I did not ask about content, but presume it would be everything but the EPL. I realize that is a non-starter for many, but not for me.

    • wigan88 says:

      That is good news. Of course, we all know that 1 month is a long time, and that could change. Even though I know it is a possibility that Setanta-i could be defunct March 1st, I hope that it won’t be, and it will live on even if the Setanta Sports US Channel goes off the air. EPL will surely be missed, with the amount of games that are shown. However, EPL wasn’t the only reason I subscribed to Setanta-i. All of Football coverage I love, throw in the Rugby as well. I don’t want any of it to go away, and that the Broadband arm can survive. I know I will keep on subscribing to Setanta-i for as long as they are around.

  27. milissa says:

    I only subscribed to Setanta for the Rugby and I waited years for the damn channel to become available. If Fox doesn’t pick up the rugby portion of Setanta’s broadcasting it is going to be absolutely miserable as there is no other real options stateside for watching the games.

    Assuming setanta-i goes under for the US as well does anyone else know of someplace online where I can subscribe to get rugby? I know but they’ve cut their offerings as well.

  28. Anfield66 says:

    This is horrible news, Setnata was worth every penny. Gaffer, Fox has got to make a commitment to get us access to better commentary. Christian Miles, St Louis, Leigh and crew may be great people but I would rather listen to the scratching of a chalkboard. Paul Dempsey and even the biased Pat Dolan are infinitely more knowledgeable. Additionally during cup games we would get thier studio banter. I was always of the belief that Setanta catered to the supporter while Fox does its best to dumb it down to the “novice”. We have attempted the “novice” approach here in the states for at least my 40+ years and it has not worked. Treat the supporters to the true vibe of world football and they will continue to be enchanted by it. Please step it up FSC, we are behind and hoping!

  29. Ceaserfreek says:

    Setanta was worth every penny , Football Matters, The Friday Football show, even I’m on Setanta Sports were all class programming that FSC has yet to even try, the terrible commentary (gtfo Sullivan omg !!) and stupid american views expressed in FSC are annoying at best. I will miss paying $15 a month to actually get quality entertainment. I’d pay $30 if thats what it took to keep them around.

  30. Peter says:

    I also love Setanta, pay for it but it’s worth.
    It’s like fresh air to watch TV without commercials for hair products and male enhancers….
    Loved Football Matters, Dempsey, Nolan, rugby, af, gaelic. etc. Great stuff, and so close to the real meaning of sports, without all the unnecessary buzz around it.
    Loosing this channel in the US is a big shame, I would have paid more.
    Prepare yourselves for the customary bullshit of Fox commentators and “experts”. They will yell at us, cut each other off with abhorring stupidities, and be in a constant hurry, because that is the American way of broadcasting.
    Well, I guess its time for enhancing the male and watch the hair growing on her breasts.

  31. The irony is that we Yanks get to view more top-flight football than our bretheren in the U.K.
    Yesrterday, Sky didn’t broadcast the Fulham v Portsmouth match, and this coming Saturday will only see the lunch time match between Liverpool v Everton. In spite of the horrible aspects of Fox Soccer, we stll have a bounty of matches to choose from. And with FSC Plus, it will hopefully bring us more Premier League, and Football League matches; hopefully the FL play-offs in May, too!

  32. John Ingram says:

    HI Sad news about sentanta. Does a anybody know of any other tv channels that will show ligue 1 because of my work i have to dvr my soccer so the internet is generally out of the question for me. i would appreciate any input.


  33. Robert George says:

    Just looked at this months dish bill im still being charged by Setanta well into March.

  34. george betzler says:

    Where on tv can i see the rugby games after Setanta goes off the air?

  35. Gordon says:

    Rugby fans check out this site:

    I am back in rugby heaven!

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