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Premier League Terminates Contract With Setanta


The Premier League have announced that they have terminated their contract with Setanta Sports in the United Kingdom. That means that Setanta has lost the TV rights for the 2009-2010 Premier League season and will sell the rights to the 46 lives games to the highest bidder.

The bidding deadline for the TV rights to those 46 games in England is Monday. Sky Sports can only pick up one package (23 games), so if they do win the bid for that, the question will be who will buy the final package of 23 games. Will it be ESPN, ITV or the BBC — although it’s doubtful that the BBC will win it due to cutbacks the broadcasting has been making.

UPDATE: Setanta has responded to customer concerns about Setanta US.

“This development does not affect our channels and other services in the US. Setanta Sports in the US is a separate operation that has [a] separate agreement to show the Barclay’s Premier League,” said a statement from Setanta. “Our channels and other services in the US continue to broadcast and our subscribers can still enjoy our programming including the Lions Tour of South Africa and the UEFA U21 European Championship.”

“We thank you for your continued interest in Setanta Sports and look forward to bringing you a wealth of sport over the coming months and years.”

The Premier League set a deadline of today, Friday June 19, 2009, to give Setanta UK time to pay the £30m it owed the Premier League. Now that Setanta has missed that deadline, the future of the broadcaster is up in the air as it has lost its prized package.

Setanta UK also hold the rights for one package of 23 games for the 2010-13 seasons and now that they have defaulted on their payments those also look likely to be up for grabs in the near future.

“The Premier League has been working with Setanta for some time to help them continue as the broadcaster of 46 UK live matches for the 2009/10 season,” the Premier League said.

“The Premier League, in agreement with Setanta, stipulated that certain contractual requirements had to be met on or before Friday 19 June 2009 to allow the preparations for the 2009/10 season to continue unaffected. It is with considerable regret that we announce that Setanta has been unable to meet its obligations. As such the existing licence agreement between us has been terminated with immediate effect.

“The Premier League will now go ahead and market the 46 UK live matches for the 2009/10 season. There will be no further comment until the conclusion of the sales process.”

But according to The Times newspaper, Setanta is expected to fall into the hands of administrators after being stripped of its right to broadcast Premier League games next season and its supposed Russian white knight pulled the rug from under a multimillion pound investment deal.

Hours after the Premier League’s decision, Access Industries, the conglomerate controlled by Len Blavatnik, the American industrialist of Russian origin, which had tabled a £20 million bid for a 51 per cent share in the company, said that its offer was no longer on the table because “certain conditions required to put the business on a long-term viable footing” were not met.

A statement from Access said: “Regrettably, despite intensive efforts on all sides over the past few days, and despite significant progress in a number of areas, there remain a number of issues which we have been unable to resolve within the time available.

“We are disappointed not to have been able to make this deal happen. Access remains committed to sports programming and will continue to explore opportunities in this area.”

The withdrawal of Access combined with the loss of the football rights is likely to prove fatal for the company. Premier League games are the main draw for most of Setanta’s subscribers and without them it could face an exodus of customers.

Deloitte has been lined up as administrator should the group fail.

How does this news affect Setanta North America and Setanta Ireland? The jury is still out. Both the American and Irish divisions of Setanta are profitable and will continue to run their operations. Right now, the news only affects Setanta UK. It’s quite possible that the North American and Irish divisions of Setanta could be sold, but a lot depends on what the administrators advise if and when they step in to help Setanta.

Setanta still shares the TV rights to the US coverage of the Premier League along with Fox Soccer Channel up until the 2009/2010 season. Bidding for the 2010-2013 seasons is expected to be finalized this Fall.

What’s your reaction to the news? And what questions do you have regarding the breaking news? Post them here and we’ll do the best to answer them.

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  1. Phill Edlin

    June 22, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I’ve tried to cancel Setanta 3 times over the past 2 months. I know my email got through to them because they responded and said if it was about cancelling the account give them 7 days to do so. Well it has been about 60 days and 3 emails later and nothing. I still get charged $14.99 on my credit card bill.

    • Steve

      June 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm

      Hey Phill,
      If I were you I’d report report the charge to your CC company as fraudulent. If you’ve given Setanta the 7 days notice and have abided by the cancellation rules, then they’re taking your money without your consent. Cur them off at the source. I’ve done this in the past to other companies who think because they have my CC details they can rip me off. Wrong! Good luck!

  2. Mark Flint

    June 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Geeza I ll bet they are forced to sell Sentanta US to pay off UK’s debts and whoever gets the UK rights will end up broadcasting here.

  3. geeza

    June 21, 2009 at 9:40 am

    so if say ESPN pick up both of the packages ( 46 Games) or Sky pick one up and ESPN pick up the other , still these 46 games will be through Setanta next season in the US ?
    so even if say ESPN have the UK broadcast rights they will not have the US broadcast rights, and the games will remain on Seanta. Correct?
    i cant get Setanta through TWC and the setanta-i since the relaunch is a loadofbollox.

    • The Gaffer

      June 22, 2009 at 10:56 am

      Hi Geeza,

      Who wins the rights to the 46 games in England will not make a difference in the US. The rights to the matches are handled separately by each region of the world. Even if ESPN wins 23 or 46 of the matches in England, that doesn’t change anything in the US — Setanta and Fox, the current rights holders, would still show the matches, not ESPN.

      The Gaffer

  4. WestCoastBlues

    June 21, 2009 at 9:29 am

    An ESPN Pay per View package actually makes sense and if that is the direction it goes in, my view is that this wont be a catastrophe. firstly, I pay $12 a month or so for Setanta anyway. I wont be paying that anymore. So if ESPN charges $120-150 for the season, so be it. If that guarantees we get an HD feed and the UK Broadcasters, etc. then even better. Also, Setanta USA is not available on all US cable systems but ESPN and the Pay Per View option likely would be. So that option is probably the best for everyone.

    I would almost rather pay a bit for it and be guaranteed the same (or better) type of coverage than be faced with missing portions of the game as NCAA women’s softball finishes its quarterfinal consolation game which went into extra innings.

  5. Luke

    June 20, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I think the interesting aspect is what happens for the 2010-11 season. I’m not smart enough to figure out the tangled web of what determines the survival of Setanta US, but consider that if ESPN could bring in the EPL for 10-11, they could wall to wall advertise it during the World Cup. They’ll never be a better marketing opportunity.

  6. charlies hustlers

    June 20, 2009 at 11:37 am

    If espn does pickk up some rights that would, I believe, bring more games to the U.S. and, if Setanta north america stays afloat, wouldnt that mean that there would be three channels broadc asting games. That seems like a win win win for all of us american el supporters. Im pulling for espn , regardless of their short comings, you cannot argue with their production value and footprint.

    • The Gaffer

      June 22, 2009 at 10:58 am

      If ESPN wins the TV rights in the UK, that doesn’t change anything in the US for the 2009-2010 season — Setanta and Fox will still share the rights.

      The big question is who’ll win the US TV rights to the Premier League for the 2010-2013 seasons — which will be decided this Fall.

      The Gaffer

  7. Mark Flint

    June 20, 2009 at 11:07 am

    In regard to SSREPORTERS link, I would assume if ESPN got SPL rights they would be airing to EURO audiences. Even Sentanta only aired SPL on delay in US.

  8. Jason Gatties

    June 20, 2009 at 10:52 am

    As long as Setanta continues to show Rugby in the U.S., I’m fine. There’s a million ways I can watch Premiership games. Not as many options to watch rugby.

  9. chris

    June 19, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Yeah but what about the EPL ? lol im more worried about the EPL and the SPL

  10. SSReporters

    June 19, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    ESPN and Sky are going after Setanta’s……

    Scottish Premier League rights!

  11. eplnfl

    June 19, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Has anyone seen the updated mlb app for iphone? $10.00 for full live scoreboard, play-play, live audio for every game and now 2 live video feeds every day. Think about a EPL app with the same stuff. A knock out! Probably they could double the price and it would still be a hit. How many apps at $20.00 a piece would they need to sell. It beats TV rights fees quick.

    Nice piece btw CFTV

    • CFTV

      June 21, 2009 at 7:36 am

      The more I think about it the more I think you could see ESPN 2 go in for the 7:30am ETZ game and also go for the 1st choice, 3rd choice, and 5th choice 10am games to air on PPV on Saturday Mornings throughout the season. The 7:30am game almost always is a really good match because they try to keep the Big 4 playing in that slot because the game falls in late primetime for futbol fans in the Far East where the Premiership is King. Also on occasion Local Derby’s air in this time period as well because of the fear of crowd problems which would allow ESPN to explain the Villa/Birmingham history to new soccer fans and what the game means to the town of Birmingham.

      ESPN offering on PPV the option of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th choice Premiership Games at 10am on Saturday Mornings allowing FSC to keep the 2nd choice game to air live and 4th choice game to air on tape delay later in the afternoon along with keeping the noon game that ESPN would have no interest in unless they wanted to buy it to sell it as a PPV property. I am pretty sure FSC is happy if things stayed status quo for them in terms of what games they broadcast.

      Because FSC are a LA based network I can see them having no interest in the 7:30am game on Saturday Mornings because that is 4:30am out West and the mentality is probably who is up at 4:30am to watch futbol when you live in LA? Even I could see FSC thinking that the 8:30am start on Sunday Mornings is too early again because that is 5:30am out on the West Coast.

      FSC would love the lead in that ESPN 2 would provide if things were to break with ESPN 2 airing the 7:30am game and FSC having the only live Premiership Futbol match on digital cable that isn’t on PPV by still airng the 2nd choice game at 10am as a lead in for their big game of the week which is the noon game. .

      Can someone please clarify how many of the 10 games that are played a week are sold internationally and especially how many games are played at 10am on Saturday afternoon which is the traditional start time for most of the league? I ask because ESPN could try and raid all of the games in that time period but the 2 that FSC currently carry, the 1 live and the 1 on tape delay after the Italian game of the week to offer on PPV. If ESPN can get the okay from FA I would allow the game to be replayed on a loop on the PPV channel the rest of Saturday for people that want to buy the game after the game has been complete because the person was watching another game instead of just offering the game live.

      What I would like to see is ESPN 2 to do a 60 or 90 minute pregame show starting at 6am or 6:30am that would feature a preview of all the games throughout the league as well as features on Premiership Players, Managers, and Clubs to get over the history and the who’s who of the league as well as the storylines of the game and go over each of the teams in the league and especially pimping the 7:30am game and whatever games they air at 10am on PPV. They could do a quick postgame after the 7:30am game is over building to 10am when they go to PPV.

      The kicker in all of this is that on Monday or Tuesday Nights or pretty much anytime during the week they could reair the 10am PPV games on ESPN Classic since it wouldn’t be new and live games since the game had already aired on PPV allowing fans of the clubs to at least watch the games that aren’t on FSC on a couple of day delay if the person doesn’t want to pay for the right to watch the game live.. They could really pimp the reairs like Fox Sports World used to do before they got the 11am on Sunday Game live would air on tape on Tuesday Nights. If ESPN has to turn it into a 2 hour and 30 minute broadcast because they decide to add commercials to games I would be okay with it.

      Even here in the States College Football,College Basketball, MLB, and NBA,games that air on ESPN that are reaired in the overnight hours parts of the game is cut out if nothing happens to get the game to fit into a broadcast window. As a fan of futbol it wouldn’t kill me on Monday or Tuesday Night if commercials are added in post production of the game .. It would be weird to watch the games with commercial breaks but knowing that the game is not live and you aren’t missing anything if they show all 90 minutes with intermittent commercial breaks wouldn’t kill me it they made it a point to do it at throw in’s and other moments where the commercial placement is important and wouldn’t kill the flow of the game.

      On the Sunday morning game if ESPN wins the rights to that game they could also go the PPV route for that as well by running from 7:30am to 8:30am a pregame that would pimp the games on PPV as well as highlights from the day before and the much beloved manager interviews following the games.

      I think the pre-game shows have to be along the lines of the NFL pre-game show with a studio host and 2 or 3 former players as analysts along with a couple of embedded reporters in the UK who can give insider notes before the game and report on stories and rumors from over the pond in the Chris Mortenson/John Clayton mold of insiders. I think it is important to have ESPN use a couple of reporters who work out of the UK who are over there talking to players and coaches and getting the scoop on what is going on throughout the whole league as each team has goals and storylines throughout the season. Not everything has to be dumbed down but they need to have a proper group of presenters, ex pro’s as analysts, embedded reporters, as well as of course commentators to make the whole production work.

      What do you guys think of this model using a pre-game show on Saturday Morning and the 7:30am game to sell the PPV games where ESPN would re-coup the cost paid for the rights and then re-airing the games later in the week on ESPN Classic?

  12. Kevin

    June 19, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    I just think people expecting to put the games on ESPN2 are dreaming. Maybe you could get something like 1 game a week on ESPN2. I think you would then have other games on classic which is on a seperate cable package and not in HD.

    My main concern with ESPN is they would have no pre/post game, and they use in house announcers which is awful rather than the TWI feed. Also, as you mention above the ESPN PPV package would also be an option. I think its even possible they sell games as stand alones, $5-10 per game. Frankly, I would rather not take my chances.

  13. Jay

    June 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    If ESPN eventually end up with TV rights in the U.S., another option for them could be a type of plan similar to ESPN GamePlan or ESPN Full Court, where they could offer a package price for access to all the games through cable and satellite providers. (I believe all the games offered in GamePlan and Full Court packages are also available for free on ESPN.360 for anyone who has access to it.) They could show a few of the marquis games on regular ESPN channels, and offer the additional GamePlan-type package for those of us who want access to all the games.

  14. CFTV

    June 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    ESPN can handle winning the rights next year a few different ways. They can clear out all the hunting and fishing shows on ESPN 2 and move them to ESPN Classic and put the Premiership on Saturdays for the 7:30am game and one of the 4 different packages that are sold for the 10am games here in the States. They will have no interest in the noon game on Saturdays because it conflicts with college football and basketball most of the year. They also can go after the 8:30am and 11am games(All Times Eastern) on Sunday since they very rarely go up against anything on ESPN 2 since again they show hunting and fishing shows in the morning that can be moved to Classic. Since Prem broadcasts fit perfect 2 hour windows they can guarantee to show billiards, bowling, drag racing, poker, and some of the other offbeat sports that ESPN 2 shows on early Sunday afternoons at 1pm getting to the live games live since Premiership Games are so tightly produced in how they fit the 2 hour window so perfectly.

    The other option and the one I fear most is that they will buy a couple of the different packages splitting the rights with FSC and will sell the games on a PPV package like they do with College Football and College Basketball Packages which are usually prices around 150 bucks a year that show the ABC out of market games as well as other regionally produced games to a national audience who pay the subscriber fee. With the College Football and Basketball Seasons lasting half as long as the Premiership I would expect the price to be closer to 250 dollars a year or a monthy subscription during the year for 25 bucks a month or something along those lines for the rights to depending on how many game packages they pick up . On occasion ESPN 2 could air games live on Saturday or Sunday Mornings to hype people to buy the PPV game following the early game if they were go that way by giving people a taste of the product before asking you to pay for it. Sadly I think the Premiership is a money loser for ESPN because the lack of commercial time and those hunting and fishing shows are pure profit as most of the time those shows either purchase the time from ESPN to air their programs and sell the commercial time to other outdoor and fishing gear companies. Why would ESPN shell out say 40M a year for 4 of the 8 or 9 packages made available to the American Audience when their is no advertising time built into the games which is how TV companies make money? Going the PPV route will bring in instant cash that will recoup the money spent on the rights.

    I loved the idea of moving the games to ESPN Classic but from what I understand and hopefully Steven Cohen will ask John Skipper this when he has him on WSD if it is true that ESPN Classic has a limited amount of time they are allowed to show live sports a week as I understand they are only allowed to show 10 hours of live sports a week due to deals they signed with different cable providers that also have their own sports networks that don’t want more live ESPN Produced Content to go up against their own regional sports networks like in the case of Comcast who owns a bunch of cable sports networks throughout America.

    Thinking a bit out of the box but what does everyone think of the Premiership on Versus which already has the NHL, the Tour De France, WEC’s MMA Fighting which is an offshoot company of the UFC for lightweight fighters, Boxing, and Bull Riding among their sporting properties. They also show hunting, fishing, and outdoors shows on Saturday and Sunday Mornings and would like to build their profile with American Sports Viewers so what would stop them from making a bid seeing how the popularity of futbol rises every year as more and more people have become exposed to it because of digital cable companies that carry FSC and GOL TV. To me only Futbol and MMA have the most ability to grow in the US market because they haven’t been overexposed to Joe Blow Sports Fan.

    Finally what would stop GOL TV for making a run at the 7:30am game on Saturday or even one of the games at 10am or the Sunday at 8:30am game?

    There is a lot of ways this can go. Of course the best case scenario is ESPN 2 and FSC splitting the rights as they are the two most professional outfits with big money companies behind them and the most exposure. My fear is that ESPN will get cold feet at the fees that they will have to pay to get the rights and lack of advertising time in a game that they will go the PPV route instead of putting all of the games on ESPN 2 which would be the best thing ever to happen to the game of futbol here in the States because there is no live sports that take place on TV here in the States on Saturday and Sunday Mornings outside of F1 races from Europe and Tennis and Golf tournaments from Europe since American Professional and College Sports don’t start their games till 12pm Eastern on the weekends.

    I am kind of surprised that I am now reading that the international rights won’t be announced till the fall since I thought the announcement would be made at least before the start of the new season if not this Spring which is only 2 days away from going bye bye into the Summer.

  15. Kevin

    June 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I just hope Setanta US stays alive. Their production was better than FSC providing pre-game and post-game coverage, setanta sports news, and Special 1TV. I am not sure how it will work now since they will presumably have to pick up the International Feed for live matches, and clearly won’t have any UK produced shows.

    The ESPN route is not a good one IMO. They would use awful announcers, horrible or no pre/post game coverage, put it on a channel you have to pay for and probably woulnd’t put it in HD (I think classic is the most likely option for games).

  16. Gedo

    June 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    For US viewers, the gaffer has good news if the US division can stay afloat or be sold successfully. Giving FSC all of the games would result in many taped-delayed broadcasts. As far as ESPN, luckily there are really no events on from 6-10pm CST on Saturday and Sunday mornings although the 11-12pm slot could be in question. ESPN does have the ESPNU channel that could be used for football broadcasts which means we could get the 3pm or 9am games finished by 11am CST USA. Keep giving us the updates gaffer, we appreciate it.

    • eplnfl

      June 19, 2009 at 5:47 pm

      ESPN can clearly fit in a live game every saturday and sunday of the prem season and not have it conflict with something else. They can but it on ESPN2 or U or Classic easy and let’s not forget 360!

      From a acquistion point of view it would seem to me that they will not want to buy up whats left of Setanta but strike their won deal with the prem who now must be stuck looking for some $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Love the part of the story here that EU rules rerally help out ESPN in getting the English rights.

      Getting people in the US to watch quality soccer on ESPN is only good news for the American soccer nation. Increased popularity will follow.

    • The Gaffer

      June 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

      You’re welcome Gedo.

      Trust me, if Setanta US went out of business in the US, it would be bad news for Premier League fans. Right now it looks like Setanta US is on firm ground and should be OK.

      Not sure about ESPN. Disney has been cutting back and ESPN recently had approximately 100 layoffs. They may not want to invest in the Premier League (either in the UK or US).

      The Gaffer


    June 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    sky provide the best coverage of the premiership in the uk and i was always less impressed when my team was covered by setanta live. the whole buildup thing is just nowhere near as good as sky. why the hell cant we just let sky take all the games if they are prepared to pay the money. while they do it as well its all good and sky can obviously easily show multiple games where required simultaneously. I have uk setanta and i will keep it possibly if they keep any of the premiership games but if they dont manage that then they are gone as far as im concerned.

  18. AtlantaPompey

    June 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    So, basically, nothing will change for US viewers? Will SetantaNorthAmerica purchase the Sky-produced matches? Or will Setanta still produce their own matches as well? How does this all work with satelite feeds? What I’m gathering from your statements, Chris, is that nothing changes for us here in North America?

    • The Gaffer

      June 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm

      Correct, nothing will change for US viewers. If Setanta UK goes out of business, then we’ll no longer be able to see Football Matters or the Friday Football Show which are produced by Setanta UK.

      Setanta would continue to show the international feed from IMG Media (formerly TWI), so we would still get the commentators we know and love. If Setanta Ireland continues, Setanta US could continue to broadcast the Setanta Ireland feed so we would see Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan reporting from the Setanta Ireland studios in Dublin.

      The Gaffer

  19. Robbie

    June 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Porbably Setanta will go to the same format before it got the premier league here in North America in 2007. If I remember correctly, they had the Dutch Eredivise, Championship, and other league games. People still purchased it to watch leagues that wouldn’t be accessable other wise, so going back to the good old days might not be that bad, although if your Setanta, its really bad in terms or premiership audience.

    So its back to the future with one channel showing Premier League football. Ah, the good old days.

    Cheers Lads,

    • The Gaffer

      June 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm


      Both Fox and Setanta will continue to show Premier League football in the States during the 2009/2010 season.

      In the UK, it’ll be Sky Sports and one or two additional broadcasters showing the rest (we’ll find out next week after the new round of bidding closes).

      So the “good old days” of one channel will not happen. Even if the unfortunate happens and Setanta US goes out of business (I hope not since they’re profitable and provide a great service), Fox can’t show all of the games on one channel (and probably can’t afford all of the rights).

      The Gaffer

  20. Ian

    June 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm


    To me, though, this is all linked. Setanta could have to liquidate to settle its UK debts. That could put Setanta US on the market.

    Either way, you have to figure that ESPN is circling and ready to move in for the kill.


    • The Gaffer

      June 19, 2009 at 4:40 pm

      Ian, it could.. with the emphasis being on the word “could.” It’s hard to say right now, but Setanta US is still in business and still shares the rights to the Prem alongside Fox.

      The Gaffer

  21. Jon-Jon

    June 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Sorry but ESPN has had ages to develop television coverage of football and they’ve always treated it horribly. They could careless about the sport they are always on the side of money and due to advertising dollars they have pushed the sport elsewhere. Fox has pioneered showing games and would prefer all games to to them. With January FSC will be in HD and that excites me to know end. So i think this will be the new era for football in the states.

  22. cmasia

    June 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    ESPN ( Europe ), if they choose, is in a pretty sweet spot for those rights this year.
    Setanta just lost 2 packages of 23 games each, which were originally valued at 131,00,000.
    By European law, Sky can only get 1 of them.
    If I were ESPN, I’d call the EPL and say, we will not bid on individual packages.
    That would mean Sky could get 1 cheap, and who would still be out there to get the other? ITV or BBC would not be in position to make a high value bid for 23 games.
    ESPN should offer around 80 million for both, as there is no other combination of bidders who will come anywhere close to this.
    The EPL has several problems here.
    1) They will be trying to get top dollar for these matches, even though it’s only a 1 year deal. With Sky already owning 5/6 of the following 3 years, who really wants to commit a big number and be a lame duck, knowing you’ll either have 0 or 23 matches next year?
    2) Another problem is the lack of incentive Sky has to shell out what would would probably be 50,000,000 for 23 games this year. I can’t imagine them increasing subscriber numbers or ad revenues enough for 1 year to make it worthwhile.
    Yes they will have 5 packages staring next year, but 50,000,000 for 23 games this year?
    3) And who will want the 23 games for the following 3 years, when everyone can see how much Setanta was punished in both the media and subscriber defections when they lost 1 of their 2 packages?
    Now, I realize that question contradicts my suggestion ESPN should pony up this year, but, sooner or later they will be a player, and this is their best chance to get in – cheap.

  23. chris

    June 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    You know I would FSC would pick up these rights when US Setanta goes down. Because I know ESPN got the rights…they will not care to much about it. If they have Baseball on and it goes past the 9 innings. they will keep showing the god blessed game until its over. and we wont be able to see half the game. They did this with the MLS game of the week last week. Not showing any respect to the MLS whatsoever. It was ridcoulus it game on in the 70th min i think. and then they re showed the game at 12 central time in the morning. I dont want this happening to the Premier League. and they were also doing this with the US Mens National Team. When they were playing Costa Rica and Honduras they kept me on my toes trying to figure out what channel they were going to show it on because they were showing some stupid baseball game. they said they were going to show it on ESPN Classic then ESPN2 and there is just no need for this. FSC is a channel just for football and they should have it. Plus there is people here in America that dont even care about soccer. So whos to say that even if it is on ESPN that it would draw big numbers you know. So I dunno I just none of this junk hurts FSC. even if FSC lost Premier Leauge rights I would hope they would pick up something like the Brasilian Serie A and show more Italian Serie A games.

    but I do have a question ? Will this hurt FSC in showing the Barclays Premier Leauge ?

    • Scott

      June 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      Chris, the fact they kept going with the baseball game has nothing to do with a lack of respect for MLS. If a live game of any sport they are showing goes to overtime, they will keep showing it until its conclusion. Its not fun when you are waiting for what is next to come on, but if it was your sport I would bet you would be mad if they cut it off before overtime to show something else.

    • The Gaffer

      June 19, 2009 at 7:10 pm

      Chris, it could hurt Fox is Setanta US goes out of business and FSC is unable to afford to pay for the rights for the 2010-2013 season leaving it open for ESPN to steal away the rights. Of course, this is all conjecture, but let’s hope Setanta US sticks around so we can continue to see plenty of Prem coverage in the States.

      The Gaffer

  24. manubhoy

    June 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I like Setanta, but I hope this ends up with ESPN stealing the premier league rights for the US in 2010. Guaranteed HD games, terrific production (sorry but ESPN blows FSC out of the water, even with Tommy Smyth) and the ESPN hype machine raising the profile of the Prem in the US – if ESPN were to get the rights, soccer would get it’s own segments on Sportscenter. What’s not to like?

    • Christopher

      June 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm

      Yeah… unless they relegate games to weird times in favor of some unheard of college baseball tournament that no one outside the schools care about. Would ESPN in the States set aside their own channel if they were successful in a bid to show Premier League games? If not… it could pose a slight schedule problem.

  25. geeza

    June 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    The way I see it is if setanta will not be showing premier league next year. so bye bye setanta in the US. What muppet is gonna pay $15 a month for setanta on telly or broadband without the footy… err… nobody.
    Fox may pick up that 5th package which is okay. if espn pick it up im just hoping that they dont have there own DONKEYS trying to do the commentary.As long as they dont have tommy smyth and those idiots who screwed up the world cup with their baseball commentary. I’m happy.

    • The Gaffer

      June 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm

      Geeza, this only affects the UK, not US. Setanta shares the US TV rights to the Prem next season with Fox Soccer Channel.

      The Gaffer

      • equals42

        June 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm

        I’ve heard that a few times now: “Setanta US is separate and profitable.” I don’t buy that if the whole company goes under, the administrators won’t sell off the good assets to pay for the huge debt of the UK division. As far as I know you don’t normally split off a valuable (read: profitable) asset from a bankruptcy proceeding depriving debt holders of compensation. The best was to compensate debt holders is the give them control of the business (if viable) or sell off assets. I don’t see how the US division could not be sold.

        I’m just glad we have FSC at least this fall.

  26. Chris Hill

    June 19, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    My contact with Setanta in US says nothing changes for them. Rights are all secured by geography – thats good news.

  27. dontcallmepaddy

    June 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    They can have Laurel and f**king Hardy do the commentary for all I care just so long as we get to watch the bloody games now

  28. SSReporters

    June 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Setanta Sports is done then. If the main grab is the Premier League what’s the point now that it’s gone?

    I really don’t want ESPN having the rights unless they stick to doing what FSC did, and that is having the commentators from the international feed.

    Could you imagine JP Dellacamera and John Harkes in Bristol commentating on Arsenal vs. Chelsea and turning it into Harkes’ playing days in England?

    If ESPN picks up the rights I want to hear Ian Darke and Robbie Earle first thing in the morning, not Tommy Smyth, not John Harkes, but the TWI feed.

    • The Gaffer

      June 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm

      Setanta UK is in serious hot water, yes. But Setanta North America and Setanta Ireland may be able to stay afloat. It all depends what will happen over the next few days and whether the UK division will go into administration.

      Setanta losing the 2009/2010 TV rights is for the UK only. They still own the TV rights in the US for the 2009/2010 season after sublicensing those from Fox Soccer Channel.

      The Gaffer

      • SSReporters

        June 19, 2009 at 2:03 pm

        This is probably ESPN’s opportunity to lose then in the UK.

        BBC has had some cutbacks and they have some live rights to a few Championship games.

        ITV is either airing profanity or airing commercials during the game. Not sure even the FA wants to have ITV win Premier League rights again.

      • Christopher

        June 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm

        Well thank God for Setanta North America then… that was my one and only concern in this whole mess.

      • chris

        June 19, 2009 at 2:59 pm

        Gaffer – For the games that Setanta purchased from Fox for next season, do they then still have to pay for the satellite feed to bring the game over here? If so, that could be a problem for USA viewers, no?

        The last thing we want is Fox having all the games because they only have the one channel and can’t play multiple concurrent games.


    • Steve

      June 23, 2009 at 2:07 pm

      Nooooooo! Being a Brit and having been raised on footie on TV, let me tell you Robbie Earle was a nothing footballer (he ‘played’ for Wimbledon FFS, played = huffed, puffed, elbowed, kicked and fouled the opposition). His ‘style’ is to repeatedly state the blindingly obvious and give us his ‘insights’ like he’s an expert on the modern game. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ian Darke, now there’s a decent commentator. Tommy Smyth is a joke. If I hear him say “the old onion bag” one more time I swear I’m gonna kill someone. Derek Rae is soooooooooooooo boring.

  29. AtlantaPompey

    June 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Come on ESPN. Give it a go!

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