Setanta Sports US Agrees Terms With Fox Soccer Channel

setanta-sports-logoSetanta Sports confirmed today that its US and Caribbean sports channel will cease broadcasting on February 28, 2010 and that much of its TV programming rights, including premium soccer games and rugby events, will be transferred to Fox Soccer Channel, according to a press release on the Setanta US website.

For the remainder of January and throughout February, Setanta will continue to broadcast normally and will feature its usual line up of top games from the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, Heineken Cup, Magners League and Guinness Premiership.

“This is a significant milestone in the re-organisation of Setanta Sports, following the acquisition of Setanta’s businesses in Ireland, the US, Canada and Australia in July 2009,” said Leonard Ryan, Co-Founder of Setanta Sports . “Having examined several options for our US business, we concluded that the best course of action for the Group is to exit the US market and to concentrate on other markets where we can be a more substantial player in sports television. This transaction enables us to achieve that objective and to explore new opportunities in other markets.”

Setanta’s operations in Canada are not affected in any way by this transaction and will continue to operate under the joint ownership of the Setanta Group and Rogers Communications.

No terms of the deal between Setanta Sports and Fox Soccer Channel have been announced as of press time, as well as what specific rights have been transferred over from Setanta to Fox.

With Setanta coming to an end on February 28, we do know that Fox Soccer Channel will be launching its Fox Soccer Plus channel on March 1, which will presumably carry the programming acquired from Setanta on its new channel. However, at press time, no specific details have been announced.

UPDATE: According to a Fox Soccer Channel representative, “[Fox Soccer Channel] is finalizing the transfer of select programming from Setanta and will announce those specific rights when the negotiations are completed.”

Stay tuned to EPL Talk for all of the breaking news on the Fox and Setanta developments.

67 thoughts on “Setanta Sports US Agrees Terms With Fox Soccer Channel”

  1. Finally.

    Now if only DirecTV would announce that it’ll be carrying both FSC HD and FSC Plus HD once their new satellite is in position and ready… basically all we’re waiting on – bandwidth limitations.

    1. I contacted Setanta-i two days ago and they said they expected to keep on running after the 28th, but if the content is going to be available on the Fox channels I don’t see how that happens. Of course, the rep did begin by saying, “As far as I know…”

  2. Oh, happy day!! If I can get my rugby on TV in addition to the EPL I will be truly chuffed! (sometimes Britspeak really works).

    I do note that cute little line…”no specific detatils…” so I’ll try to stay calm for a while longer.

  3. I had contacted Setanta back in December about any plans for HD. They responded that most of their programming wasn’t available from the host in HD. I don’t know if that means the Setanta programming won’t be in HD.

    This is the big question, how much programming on Fox Soccer Plus will actually be HD? What makes me nervous about this whole deal is that Fox had to buy Setanta to get enough programming for a channel. It seems they haven’t completely thought this one through.

    1. Even if there isn’t an actual HD feed available, be it from a soccer game or anything else, the picture quality on the HD channel will still be far superior compared to the SD channel. Upscaled or not, it will be a much sharper picture.

      But then again, as far I know, most (if not all) of the EPL matches are shot in HD and those feeds will be available to FSC. Major competitions, like the Champions League, and other important fixtures should definitely be in HD as well.

      It’s 2010 after all, the technology is much more affordable now.

      1. Actually I think for EPL games the only games that are HD are the ones broadcast on live tv in England e.g. 7:45am, 12:30pm on Saturday and 11am on Sunday. Next season I understood all EPL games will be in HD.

  4. Then, how about the French Ligue 1, would FOX buy it?
    Also, although FOX has the rights across FA and Carling cup, however these two series do not transmit HD signals overseas, would the match become upscale instead?

    1. I have become a huge fan of Ligue 1 thanks for Setanta. Would love to see Charlie Davies playing with Sochaux this year. I am glad to see lots of other fans for French football. I think it is a very entertaining league.

  5. Why the secrecy from Fox about their new channel? You would think they would like to get the word out more about what they will provide and when they will actually have HD instead of just throwing a random commercial on during their coverage.

    1. Fox is usually a little slower to pull the trigger in terms of getting a press release written and approved by the lawyers. More red tape. Sounds like Setanta got the word out first, and Fox will most probably issue a statement or press release soon.

      The Gaffer

      1. Thanks as always, Gaffer. I also wanted to let you know that ESPN’s ticker struck again yesterday. I recorded the Tuesday games and planned to watch them after work but had to make a stop at the local health club to pay a bill for two minutes. While there, I glanced to the screen only to see Spurs leading Fulham 2-0 in the 84th minute…virtually killing any suspense I would have had before watching the game about two hours after it had begun. And that happened while I was trying to avoid finding out what happened…

    2. I think the “secrecy” is over the fact that until they just bought out Setanta, they didn’t know what else they would show on their channel and they still probably don’t know what their programming will look like overall. With no programming certainties, no price point idea, HD and SD?, will it be paid programming free (say what you want, I like that Setanta has virtually no commercials), Fox is running far behind, which is odd seeing they announced creating a channel before they even had most of the programming for it.

      I’m glad they got most of Setanta’s stuff, as that will make it a bigger draw for me.

  6. I knew this was coming, but this is still terrible news. If there was any possible way to get Setanta Canada down here in Texas, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Fox craps on everything it touches. I guess I’ll make do with the infrequent ESPN coverage — but I will miss Paul Demsey, Ligue 1 and the rugby coverage.

  7. for those of us who like Rugby BBC America is carrying 5 six nations games live – which should be fun. Here in Comcast land I doubt if we will get either Fox Soccer Channel in HD or even a whiff of Fox Soccer Plus – we seem to be the last in the universe to get new channels

    1. You know, one of the SIX nations is going to be pissed to find you’re dissing them before the tournament has even begun. 😀

  8. Fox just has to get better at broadcasting matches. Less annoying drivel. Better sponsors. The subscription model could help improve the coverage.

    They really need some new talent, someone to take ownership of their coverage – and not Christian Miles, who seems like a nice enough guy, but doesn’t have much charisma. I’m not convinced by anybody they have on staff.

    The football itself is the product. They always give me the feeling that they’re trying to manufacture enthusiasm, and it’s annoying because it’s unnecessary . Same with the Canadians on the nightly highlights show.

    1. While I agree with what you are saying, a lot of the stuff you are talking about shouldn’t even matter (or at least it doesn’t to me). I just want to be able to watch the game for 90 minutes and be able to watch as many games as possible per game day. Their use of the UK announcers during the game, not showing any sort of ticker during games like Setanta and ESPN, and the fact that they do not show the scores of games they are showing on delay are all positives as far as I am concerned.

  9. “Any news what will happen to Setanta-i customers? ”

    Just in from SetantaUS on Twitter:

    Setanta-i will no longer operate after 2/28.

          1. I hope so – I have a yearly that I just signed up for less than 6 months ago.

            I just know their customer service “department” is really bad at responding. I’ve read numerous posts from people saying they requested a refund or cancellation and it took months of hounding them with follow up emails to get anywhere near a resolution.

    1. That’s too bad. I prefer Setanta-i to ESPN360, and think it is far superior to any of the other broadband providers. Setatna-i looks great on my 42″ LCD at full screen. I hate to see them go.

  10. I love to see those words, “including…rugby events”. Maybe now we know what the ‘plus’ in FSC+ stands for.

    I will be very happy if I can still get my rugby fix along with EPL matches .

  11. following up on dontcallmepaddy’s comment, is this is the ned of legit EPL on the internet? has made a decision to delay all EPL games until midnight, at least up until now. Would be very interested if anyone has info on the implications of all this for the service

    1. jmf, all good questions. I’ve asked Fox these similar questions and have yet to hear from them. Once they’ve finalized their plans and are ready to make an announcement, I’ll be sure to share the information. The loss of Setanta-i is definitely a major concern for soccer fans in the United States.

      The Gaffer

  12. What we need is an EPL package, like the NFL and NBA packages. I think most of us here would pay $150 to $200 a year to watch all the EPL matches we want.

    1. Definitely (though MLB Extra Innings/ are my choice comparison). I’m not going to hold my breath, though.

      I’d even go for a replay package like UEFA sells for the Champions League.

    2. I second this suggested. Give me EPL “Extra Center Pitch Ticket” in HD with all the matches being broadcast in HD. I would even be fine if they blocked out the matches on Fox Soccer if they were worried about competition.

  13. I think the reason that Fox seems unsure what Fox Soccer Plus will look like is that they did not expect for it to launch as soon as it is supposed to begin. Sure, Fox registerd the name in December, but probably expected to not have to put it in effect until next Augustat the earliest at the start of the next English soccer season. Setanta apparently not coming up with payments for the second half of the season may have caught Fox off-guard. I could see Setanta getting the games for January and February for a song, as Fox had no place to shift them on such short notice. In exchange, they should get event rights at a low price from Setanta’s liquidation sale.

  14. Guess they have about 5 more days to fulfill the “January 2010” promise. This whole “coming soon” business makes me think HD won’t launch until March 1st, to correlate w/ FSC+

  15. Watching setanta-I right now and ticker saying to go to for more info but that begnning march 1 this can be seen on fsc or fsc .

    1. ya, that was a lie though. it said you can see this competition on fsc and fsc+ starting march 1. the carling cup will be over by then. they lied. 😀

  16. Wonder if Fox Soccer Plus will be a subscription channel for Comcast as part of their sports package.

    Setanta is treading on thin ice over the world. This isn’t shocking.

    BTW I need a favor from anyone who has Setanta US to please watch Everton/Sunderland when it airs at 6:45 PM ET/3:45 PM PT and fill me in on who the match commentators were for the international feed. Thanks.

  17. An exciting new message appears when I enter my zip code and cable provider at (“Fox Soccer Plus Channel Finder”). Whereas before it was a message simply urging you to contact your cable provider to request the new channel, it now reads:

    Great news — Fox Soccer Plus will soon be launching in your area! Shortly after its launch on March 1st, Time Warner has plans to make Fox Soccer Plus available to you. This will provide you with additional games from England’s Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Italy’s Serie A and more. Call Time Warner for further information at 518-869-5500, including subscription details and exact launch date.

  18. Bad news for EPL fans in the US today. By the sounds of it I think it sounds like FS+ is going to be having less viewers then Setanta ever did.

    I don’t why FOX could not of just taken Setantas transponders on Dish/Direct TV and at least be able to show this channel on Setantas slot.

    Gaffer? Any news on who will be carrying this channel?

    I can’t see Dish carrying it from the 1st of March.

    1. One more thing. Fox should of waited to the end of the EPL season and that would of given them the summer break to allow there new channel to be available on more networks.

  19. Maybe everyone should just be a little patient and see what happens. I don’t think Fox would create a new channel and not make it available to millions of people. I really don’t think we are going to see our coverage of EPL games drop here in the US.

  20. I sure hope not… I am a bit worried since Setanta has definitely stated their end date, and no one has any idea when FSC HD is coming around, who will carry it, and we know FS+ is supposed to be here March 1, but again, no idea who will carry it.

  21. I emailed Setanta-i regarding the monthly subscriptions, and this was the reply I received:

    Thanks for your email to Setanta-i. All recurring subscriptions to our service will be automatically stopped in February.

  22. My buddy (AND the FSC website) have confirmed that Time Warner Cable is exclusively launching FSCPlus on March 1st!
    Too bad i have Direct TV :-/

    1. I highly doubt it’ll be launched “exclusively” on TWC, heh. Or even exclusively on FSC+’s launch date, March 1st.

    2. I don’t see that claim anywhere on FSC. Besides, exclusive launch on March 1st doesn’t really mean much. Everyone else could still launch on March 2nd.

      Fox would be doing a stupid thing going exclusively with Time Warner. I will not get Time Warner, simple as that. And as a consequence, my bill would go lower.

  23. For those of you who were Setanta-i customers who paid on a month by moth basis, you MUST cancel your subscription by sending them an email to:

    I ran out of my yearly subscription this month, paid 14.99 for an additional month and then found out that setanta-i was going to be out of business starting Feb 28th. I cancelled immediately, but I will still have service until the end of February.

    No prorated refunds are given.

  24. Guys — further to those comments about Paul Dempsey. You are right — Fox should try and hire him — he’s way ahead. Are you listening Fox ???

  25. Some info from

    “It’s my last day on the Twitter front. Thanks to everyone who talked soccer/rugby with me and enjoyed our channel. Best wishes to all.”

    Q: “@SetantaUS why is it your last day?”
    A: “Our NY office is closing, but the channel will remain on air until February 28th.”

    Q: “@SetantaUS are any of Setanta’s rights (any sport/league/etc) going to ESPN360?”
    A: “Not that I’m aware of.”

  26. What Fox should do is take over Setanta-i and honor the subscriptions of Setanta-i customers. Since Fox Soccer Plus won’t be available to all cable or satellite subscribers it can show FSC+ programming on the setanta-i platform and I’m sure they’ll get lots of new subscribers. This could be a win-win for everyone.

      1. Man, that is a serious bummer. So, its looks like Setanta-i is truly dead in its current format. Fox seriously dropped the ball on that one. Hopefully Premium Sports won’t completely mess up when they take over on March 1st.

  27. Fingers crossed here on the rugby front also. Totally understand the demand for football (of the proper variety) as I like to watch that also from time to time, but the following for rugby in the US is now at a point that it needs to not only cnotinue with widespread television coverage, but improve the quality of that covgerage – While Setanta led the way in bringing rugby to US TV, it’s coverage at times was questionable – particularly in terms of accurate scheduling and picture quality. I think this is a huge opportunity also for Fox to not only leverage what it has done through it’s sister company in the UK, Sky, but also that of it’s sister companies down under. It also has an opportunity to further compete against ESPN who, in aquiring the debris from Setanta’s UK demise, now also show French Top 14 rugby in the UK.

  28. so do we not have to pay for Fox plus? But we have to listen to their pathetic drivel, I miss the setanta half time score updates and round the grounds after the games. Because you played once for England does not make you an expert, at least it is better than the idiot irishman on ESPN. Covering the world cup for 20 years does not make him an expert either anmd the accent and squeaky voice are just annoying.

  29. Can some one tell me what has happened to Fox Soccer broadcasting Rugby in the USA. We pay Direct TV around $15 a month and have been pretty happy with what we have had and have enjoyed the the earlier broadcast’s even if it weren’t live games, BUT where are the International games that are going on in Europe rite now.
    Look forward to hearing from some one.
    Cheers AJ

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