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What Will You And Won't You Miss About Setanta US?

setanta us out of business What Will You And Won't You Miss About Setanta US?

Sunday, February 28, 2010 marked the final day of Setanta US’s history. The US division of the Irish broadcaster has gone out of business and most of its rights have been acquired by Fox and will be shown on Fox Soccer Plus, which launched March 1.

For many of us, Setanta has a been a large part of our life for the past several years as we’ve watched plenty of brilliant scenes on the channel including Liverpool beating Manchester United, and Manchester United lifting the trophy last season, to name just a couple.

But what will you and won’t you miss about the channel? Here’s my list:

What I Will Miss About Setanta US

  1. Watching live Premier League games on Setanta-i. Sure, the site had hiccups in the beginning, but I really loved how Setanta-i was so easy to use as well as all of the features and functionality the broadband player allowed which were miles better than the previous incarnation, Setanta Broadband. Setanta-i changed my viewing habits and allowed me to watch games wherever my laptop and Internet connection went.
  2. Memories of Special 1 TV. Just like Setanta-i had two different names, Special 1 TV was first known by the brilliant name “I’m On Setanta Sports” which was a genius marketing move to make the Setanta brandname familiar with audiences in the UK, US and elsewhere. The show was so popular that once people knew it was on Setanta Sports and were famiiar with the channel, it changed its name to “Special 1 TV” and became even funnier. It’s just a shame that Setanta UK went bankrupt and the channel wasn’t able to finance the show anymore, but you can still find the classic videos on YouTube.
  3. Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan. Here in the United States, there are very few quality choices on a Saturday morning for expert coverage of the Premier League by pundits. “Fox Soccer Saturday” is too stuffy and scripted. BBC Radio Five Live is usually blocked. So when the duo of Dempsey and Dolan came on air via the Setanta Ireland studios, this was a godsend for viewers in the States where we could get insights and opinions on the game, and analysis we couldn’t find anywhere else. They both will be missed (but will continue doing their show for Setanta Ireland customers).
  4. Quantity and quality. For a few seasons, Setanta US had more Premier League coverage on its channels that Fox Soccer Channel thanks to Setanta Xtra (Setanta’s overflow channel for DirecTV customers). Plus, Setanta used to have the 7:45am ET Saturday game and the Monday games, in addition to its bounty of matches on Saturday and Sunday’s, as well as midweek matches. Plus on top of all this, we used to get more international and friendly matches on Setanta. Over the past 12 months, the number definitely declined but the quality was always there. Let’s just hope that Fox Soccer Plus does just as good a job and is available nationwide to viewers in a timely fashion.

What I Won’t Miss About Setanta US

  1. When were they going to be on cable? Setanta’s quest to be available on most TV providers in the United States was a long and arduous task. It wasn’t Setanta’s fault, but after several years of trying, I still didn’t have the option to subscribe to Setanta via my local Comcast provider. And the issue was the same for most soccer fans throughout the States. If you had satellite, you could get it with no problem. But the roll-out of Setanta on cable providers was painfully slow.
  2. Setanta promos. Some of the promos that used to run in-between games were awful. The latest one being the “We Will Be There” which is so full of itself and annoying that I quickly changed the channel or muted it whenever it was on. And because Setanta had very few TV commercials, we got to see the same promos over and over again for most of the season.
  3. Gameflash. During Premier League games, Setanta would pop-up the latest scores of Premier League matches near the top left corner of the screen and would ruin many a match that I was recording on DVR from another channel. After a while, I learned to get used to it but would still grimace whenever the scores popped up. Unfortunately, for Setanta, there were only two choices. One, use the Setanta Ireland feed and give viewers the option of watching Dempsey and Dolan and then, the gameflash. Or use the TWI feed and have no Dempsey and Dolan, but not be ruined by gameflash. To me, the choice was obvious.

Looking back on the history of Setanta in the United States, what will you and won’t you miss about the network? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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 →
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43 Responses to What Will You And Won't You Miss About Setanta US?

  1. xplus says:

    I’m going to go with the Setanta Xtra channel…which offered that one extra game on Saturday mornings, an additional live game during midweek fixtures, and could be used anytime there was some sort of scheduling conflict. Most notably, I remember when ESPN didn’t have a really early game on Saturday so they had a 10am EST game…meaning there were four live EPL games to choose from. Now…sadly, there are only two choices.

  2. John says:

    I will miss their lovely bumble-bee colored logo hogging the screen and I will say good riddance to the intra-game score updates from across the league as I’m DVR-ing the other games I want to watch later. Yeah, I know, the Irish only get one game so they want the scores, but thank god for good, ol’ American Fox Soccer Channel which knows that it’s the year 2010 and many people have something called a DVR/Tivo.

  3. Mike says:

    I’ll miss those little 3 minute highlight packages from past Rugby World Cups. I’ll also miss the coverage of GAA (i dont think they showed a game on setanta-i this year though), magazine shows, and the extensive on demand archive for some sports. It’s too bad the past archives have all been taken down.

    I’ll miss being able to watch the live channel when available – though because of rights, some days virtually nothing was available between the Champions League, MUTV/CFCTV, and Super 14. Foxsoccer.tv doesn’t seem to offer any of the non-game content or the live channel.

  4. Gustavo says:

    I won’t be missing that annoying Setanta theme music, which would get stuck in your head for hours on end ….

  5. Grant says:

    I had Setanta when I had DirecTV for a year at my apartment. Probably the worst thing would be the slo-mo shots of sports equipment bouncing around with music that was always WAY louder than the show you were just watching. I remember falling asleep a few times with it on only to be woken up at the end of a match by their bloody blairing commercials.

  6. Robert George says:

    Gaffer you say it all Quality and Quanity. I miss some of the UK shows we got from Setanta. I will miss the live UK and Ireland feeds. And the fact that we got to see the whole TWI feed rather then have annoying people and commerical breaks in between that and FSC.

    Setanta had a better programing fillers then FSC or FSC+ seems to have.

    Less commericals then FSC or FSC+.

  7. I’ll really miss the fact that they spared us the half time break during match replays and went straight to the 2nd half. I hope FS+ adopts this policy.

    i’ll miss the commentary from des curran and martin fisher and especially lou macari’s. his analysis was pretty entertaining.

    • Robert George says:

      FS+ will be commericals, commericals and more commericals

      • Grant says:

        So then what the hell will people be paying for? I thought the whole point of a subscription model was because commercials didn’t work. If they’re going to show commercials, then why is it $15 a month unlike literally EVERY other FOX property?

    • jmansor says:

      I forgot about the skipped half-time break. It was a great feature. Their goal was to get you the most soccer possible. And they saved 15 minutes every replayed match. Paying 15/month FS+ better do the same, but I know I will be disappointed.

  8. yespage says:

    Will miss the weekly highlights package they’d put together. And say what you want, I liked the theme song… better than hearing about how whosy likes to gossip or this kid taught his brother how to kick a penalty shot! And the lack of a halftime wait for replays. I found Setanta worth every penny.

    I won’t miss the “We’ll be there” song!

  9. Gaz says:

    Am I the only one that hated Setanta-i? I think ESPN 360 has one of the best services out there – I hope FSC.tv takes a look at that instead of Setanta-i.

    I thought the web page was messy and difficulty to navigate, the support / customer service was non-existent, goal flashes during games, video often not playing… not to mention that annoying “music” video they played over and over again.

    In general, the service was just crappy. To illustrate that point, last night I turned Setanta-i on for the last time to watch the Spurs game only to see that the opening image on the video was the result of the Bolton game (the one I hadn’t seen yet) with the announcer saying, “…and the final result here is…”.

    • David the Yank says:

      Yes, Gaz, that happened to me the last couple of weeks. They seemed to have overlapping blocks with games that had 5-7 minutes of injury time. So I made the mistake of watching out of sequence, and the first two minutes of each match I tried to watch was the last 30 seconds of the prior match! I wrote earlier that I did a comparison yesterday as Carling Cup final was on both setanta-i and espn360; espn360 better quality, less delayed, plus I could pause live tv!

      My only request of all these sites is to have an option *not* to show you the time counter at the bottom, because sometimes on espn360.com there will be a Carling Cup semifinal or final and I can tell instantly that it went to extra time or penalties by the length of the match!

  10. pungentjoe says:

    MUTV WILL BE A BIG MISS AND PAT DOLAN.i wont miss having to cover the top
    left corner of the screen for score updates that would spoil later games

  11. SeminoleGunner says:

    I will miss Dempsey and Dolan the most. Many times I can’t even put my finger on what it is that Fox Soccer Matchday does wrong, but they were always miles behind the Setanta pregame and halftime crew.

    Another thing I will miss is watching Setanta Broadband/Setanta-i on my laptop in the library at school (and occasionally during class). The low point of that was probably having to watch Spurs come back to tie Arsenal 4-4 last season and not react since I was in the middle of a Constitutional Law lecture LOL.

    I won’t miss the aforementioned yellow boot/ball/water bottle promos, or the “We Will Be There” campaign (which got even worse once it became apparent that Setanta would NOT “be there” beyond February 2010). Most of all I won’t miss the “An Error Has Occurred” message that would show up from time to time.

  12. CA_backpacker says:

    Well, since DirecTV doesn’t seem to have FS+ yet, I guess I’m going to miss about 1/2 of the remaining premiership games this season, no? And yes, totally miss Special1TV this season. And as Grant said, I HATED how their station-promo’s and commercials would blast out at twice the volume as the regular programming…eeegad!

    • The Gaffer says:

      CA_Backpacker, DirecTV should have Fox Soccer Plus starting today.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • AtlantaPompey says:

        Tuned in to Channel 621 on DirecTV, and there it was, despite the fact that I didn’t order it. Did anyone else experience this? I had Setanta, but was not planning on adding FS+. Turns out that I have to call them to cancel a channel I never subscribed to in the first place? Why?

        Now if it had been in HD…

  13. Tim says:

    That Comcast had Setanta unlike FSC+

  14. brn442 says:

    That annoying theme music.

    Before you watch a tape delayed match, the scores are right there on your homepage just incase you get a heart attack or power outage before the second half.

    The annoying theme “filler” music #2

    I will miss “Special 1 TV”

    Setanta-i, not perfect by a long shot but better than praying and hoping in vain for my local provider to assign a channel to Setanta

  15. Gedo says:

    I will miss the Pat’s, the Setanta Xtra Channel and the three minute promos of past rugby matches….in fact, it’s b/c of these promos I started watching rugby…that game is nuts. Great article Gaffer.

  16. DaveG says:

    I will miss Setanta for the top notch analysis from Pat and Paul
    I will/do miss Special one TV especially on weekends like the past one when Wenger is on a tear…can you imagine what they would have done with the Terry and Ashley Cole scandals!! “Get the tank” LOL
    I don’t know if anyone on here remembers, but I have very fond memories of my first Setanta experience on regular TV….Euro 2000 Package, every game live on PPV for $149
    What a summer that was!!!
    Then followed it up with Euro 2004 PPV package for $149 again!…considering each game on PPV cost $19.95 it was a bloody bargain and a half!!
    Quality BBC and ITV feeds and analysis…couldn’t believe my luck
    So I bid you a fond farewell setanta :)
    and in honor of the memories that you brought to me in the barren wasteland that was english football on US TV in the 90′s (anyone remember being over the moon to watch 1 hour of highlights PER WEEK!!! on thursday nights?)
    so in honour of everything you brought to the table….I give you all, from my Irish brethern at RTE Apres Match….
    Sello-Tanta Sports LOL :)
    Enjoy!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7l6jbeG1ho&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDHViDRAOHI

  17. victor says:

    the spl. does anyone know where its going? i must be out of the loop. somone has probably posted it.

  18. Dools says:

    @Comcast_Cares twitter says that they have no plans for FSCHD or FS+ that he’s aware of. Awesome.

    • jeff says:

      Doods,
      to top that off, I’ve received an e-mail after I made a similar request, and they gave me the most confusing info from Comcast customer care with that issue. to me means they really have no idea what to do next.

  19. victor says:

    oh also the cheesy “we will be there” song

  20. Simon says:

    i will miss Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan and the epl and ther covige they are the best pundits i hope that fox gets beter pundits and also looks at taps or dvds of Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan on how they persnet the game and do the same but that wont happen.

  21. Richard says:

    I love pat dolan but I will be thrilled to hear the end of des curran and the loathesome lou macari. macari couldn’t complete a sentence without a negative comment about Arsenal. It was painfully obvious that he hated them with every passing sentence. Terrible announcers.

    • Ryan says:

      HEAR, HEAR!

      Macari was the worst- he barely paid attention, and when he did, he had something angry and spiteful to say; usually about Arsenal. Analysis should involve more than repeating “puuuut the bawl into the baaawwwwks” 500 times in a row.

      And that “bon voyage” goes double for Paul Dempsey- nice haircut, douchebag.

  22. Ivan says:

    Pat Dolan! I will definitely the opinionated Irishman telling us how awful Liverpool’s American owners are.
    From last season, Friday Football Show and Football Matters were world class football shows.
    The extra Premier League game on Setanta X-Tra.
    Fox Soccer MUST purchase civilized original programming from Sky Sports, pick up French, Scotish, Turkish leagues. $15 for a diminished Setanta content will NOT fly!!!

  23. Gaffer, the part I enjoyed was that virtually no one had heard of Setanta Sports; I felt as though I belonged to a secret society! I actually loved the Setanta bumpers and music, with the Black and Yellow logo and footballers crashing into each other, it always pulsated in my head. I’ll miss Setanta; those Saturday commentators on FSC are pathetic.

  24. Tony says:

    what I miss about Setanta:

    Special1TV, AFL football, Gaelic Sports, the music/adverts/idents/presentation, the way they didn’t Americanize production (they treated us like knowledgeable football fans!), the Old Firm Derby matches, Master’s football (I am assuming that’s gone, right?)

    by the way, way, if you liked the music/idents/adverts/etc. check out the SetantaUS youtube channel, there are plenty of them there.

    The only thing I won’t miss is the poor picture quality.

  25. Aaron from Phoenix says:

    I like the Setanta Irish game with the studio pundits of Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan, with there on sight play by play team, the on sight up dates of the other Premier League games during haft time and at the end of game program.
    I miss Football Maters with James Richardson. I like the version without a studio audience that air at the midweek. I thought Fox should have done an American version of the show about North American soccer.
    I loved watching the mid week EPL games that were mostly on Setanta.
    The thing I most liked about Setanta. They ended the pay per view for FA Cup and the EPL.

  26. Bob H. says:

    I too will miss Dempsey and Dolan. Their commentary was the best. Setanta was great and well worth the monthly cost. I’m now waiting for AT&T U-verse to add Fox Soccer+. It is unlikely that it will contain the same quality as Setanta.

  27. The Gaffer says:

    For those of you who will miss Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan, listen to an exclusive interview with Dempsey (interviewed by Richard Farley on today’s EPL Talk Podcast) where he talks about what the US audience meant to him. It’s on the EPL Talk Podcast feed on iTunes and here: http://epltalk.com/paul-dempsey-interview-epl-talk-podcast/16373

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  28. M. Sparks says:

    I will miss the Irish pregame and most of all MUTV. Fox Soccer please pick up those rights.

  29. M Garcia says:

    Setanta was quality in every way except for the picture. Paul Dempsey’s hair (Who on God’s green earth still feathers the front of their hair like that?): Quality. Pat Dolan’s irreverent but cogent analysis: Quality. The black and yellow and +15 volume change for its tag jingle: Quality. Football matters with Richardson and Lowe: Quality. We Will be There (I guess I’m the only one who will officially admit to almost tearing up when I hear it, oh, the irony in that promo): Quality. Those 3 minute spots from days gone by where you can literally learn about the legend of players like Cantona, De Saille, Andy…er….Andrew Cole in “cliffnotes” version: Quality.

    I’ve paid the 15.00 for FS+ but am not happy at all with it. And I loathe the lack of quality pre-game, post-game, and half time commentary. While on the subject, is there any worse pronunciation going on in the game today than that hack female they’ve hired from north of the border. My 14 year old son and I just sit there and laugh every time we hear her mis-pronounce, sometimes, the most phonetically simple names. Geesh, get familiar with the players. You’d think from the way they built her up, her love of the game etc… etc…, that she’d be able to pull off that most simple component of commentating. I am eagerly awaiting the day she has to do an Everton highlights package where Bilyaletdinov scores. That WILL be quality.

  30. M Garcia says:

    Lara Baldesarra. Worst ever. Period.

    • jeff says:

      the newest member of Fox Soccer Report makes FSR quite unwatchable, what the hell happened to the people who were in the show? Derek Taylor, Terri Leigh, Jermey St. Louie, Bobby McMahan, and the Indian guy are great, but missing Carlos Machardo and a few others damaged the creditability

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