Setanta 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.