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England Football Fans Shut Out On Both Sides Of The Atlantic


For once, the Brits know how it feels to be American. That is, they know how difficult it is to watch England play football on TV.

With the TV rights for England in Britain going to Setanta Sports, most Englanders didn’t see the two nil win against Andorra on Saturday. The same will apply to the essential England match against Croatia, which is again available only on Setanta in the UK.

In the United States, it’s always been difficult to see meaningful England games on television. Last Saturday’s debacle against Andorra was only available on pay-per-view (for $25), in pubs showing Setanta (for a $20 cover charge) and on Setanta Broadband (if you have an annual contract for $150).

If you live in the States, Wednesday’s match against Croatia is available again on pay-per-view or in pubs that show the Setanta pub channel.

Or, of course, there’s half a dozen illegal ways to watch the match. In England, Setanta’s unwillingness to provide highlights of the Croatia against England match is only going to increase the demand for ways to watch it illegally — streams, P2P players and a ton of video sites.

The same thing applies to football fans in America. It’s bloody 2008. Forcing fans to pay $25 to watch one match is archaic. Very few fans are willing to spend that much cash when international matches are becoming less exciting than club football.

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  1. John

    September 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Last year I bought Setanta Sports through DirecTV. (The reason I chose DirecTV).
    This season I decided to go the broadband route. Didn't particularly want to, but felt the $150 was a better outlay as I got to squint at the PPV games also. I will NEVER pay $25 to watch a game on PPV.
    Still not impressed that the refuse to offer the Ireland games outside of pubs. I am sure they have their reasons, I just don't know what they are.

  2. Richard

    September 11, 2008 at 6:37 am

    I subscribe to Satanta sports in Canada but that isn't enough, I have to PPV as well for England games. I can't even pull the highlights down this morning from anywhere either, obviously the little trolls in the legal department have been buzy all night making sure fans continue to get screwed.

  3. patrick

    September 8, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    well if your only after highlights. just go to there is a live feed of Setanta sport. They will show the highlights minutes after the match ends. Plus you can check up on UK sport.

    What ticks me off as a Setanta US subscriber is I pay $15 a month and then have to pay 25 extra for the England matches.

    And frankly I feel like most of my 15 a month is going to egg chasing, as the better matches are on FSC.

    anyway. I'll be at work Wednesday, and will have some justintv stream on in my office.

  4. Simon Burke

    September 8, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Setanta are a pain and should have given up highlights much faster. I know why they did it but its wrong. Over here, I 'may have' P2Pd the game.. It was garbage, had any fan paid 25 dollars for it they wouldnt have got any value for it. Croatia has more to it but on a Wednesday afternoon its a pain to see as most of us at work.

  5. Chris O

    September 8, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Yes, it was quite a frustrating experience for Brits like me who aren't subscribed to Setanta. I know I probably didn't miss much in the end, but the inability to see any England action until the following day (when the goals were shown on numerous news programmes) was a far from ideal situation to be in.

    Setanta were offering two free months of subscription for just £6.50 for a limited time only, but it's the principle of the thing. If England ever qualify for a major tournament again, no-one will know how they did it at this rate.

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