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The fallout from Setanta's collapse

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Mihir Bose | 17:46 UK time, Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Setanta's rights may well ultimately be picked up by other broadcasters following its fall into administration today - at least that will be the hope of the various sports affected.

But more significant may be the collateral damage it has done to football's governing bodies, in particular the less than brilliant relationship between the Premier League and the FA.

On Friday when the Premier League decided to take its ball home, effectively sentencing Setanta to death, the FA did little to hide its displeasure.

The feeling at Soho Square was that the Premier League had been far too hasty - its decision had caused the FA and the SPL problems when it could easily have given Setanta the 72 hours it requested to organise its rescue and meet its payment commitments to the League.

The Premier League's version of the story is that far from being uncaring, it had been more than considerate and mindful of Setanta's problems for many months.

Talks between the Premier League and Setanta have been going back to last November. League officials lost count of the number of times Setanta asked for "another 72 hours".

Setanta Sports has gone out of business Matters were not helped by the fact that it never seemed to be clear who was in charge of Setanta. It seemed every time the League picked up the phone to Setanta, there was a different person to speak to. Not the sort of thing that inspires confidence if you are worried about getting paid on time.

In fact, the tipping point was not reached last Friday, when the rights were withdrawn, but Monday last week.

That is when the League made clear that while Setanta had until Friday to come up with the money, it had also started a parallel process of searching for another broadcaster.

It was quite clear from this that it did not expect Setanta to meet the deadline and anticipated getting another call asking for a further 72 hours. As indeed transpired at the end of the week.

The Premier League may also have known that there was a VAT bombshell ticking away inside Setanta which would make a rescue of the company difficult.

Registered outside the UK, Setanta had been in discussions about its possible VAT liability. It was clear there was a potential VAT bill of £50m and this emerged during the due diligence carried out by investors keen to rescue the company. It was this that scuppered the anticipated rescue bid last week.

All this meant that on Friday, when Setanta made yet another plea to the Premier League for more time, the answer was very brief.

The Premier League feels fully justified in what it did and its prompt reselling of the rights to ESPN means it has - as marketing men like to put it - come out revenue neutral.

All through the Setanta saga, the FA has also been very bullish, believing the improved state of the England team means its assets are more attractive and could be easily resold.

True, ITV has the option on England matches but they have to exercise that option on home friendlies which can hardly be that attractive, especially given ITV's delicate current financial position.

The rest of the FA's portfolio - FA Cup, Community Shield, and under-21 matches- is decent. And it did front load its Setanta contract, so £50m of the £150m was already in the bank.

But for all the talk in Soho Square, this hardly compares with the live rights to the Premier League. And though the FA is believed to have made a 45% profit on its previous contracts when it signed with Setanta, its faith in its football rights will be severely tested back in the market.

Setanta does have some money in an escrow account but the administrators are unlikely to allow any sports bodies access to that.

Other sports who had signed with Setanta will also be affected, but in the main, it was overseas rights for things like US golf and the IPL, so the impact on them should not be that great.

The situation is very different for the SPL however.

Not for Celtic or Rangers who are big enough to withstand what will be for them a small loss of income.

But even if another broadcaster, like Sky, does come in, some of the smaller Scottish clubs might struggle to cope with the chill winds in the wake of Setanta's demise.

Those chill winds will also blow between Soho Square and the Premier League as the implications of Setanta's collapse unfold.


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  • 1. At 6:32pm on 23 Jun 2009, banvuvuzela wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 6:35pm on 23 Jun 2009, Moon1972 wrote:

    Setanta can die for all I care.

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  • 3. At 7:05pm on 23 Jun 2009, radiohead wrote:

    An opportunity for the BBC to grab some live football packages with England World Cup & Euro qualifyers, the SPL which would please the millions of Scots living in England and Blue Square Premier, which would ideal for BBC3 or on the red button.

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  • 4. At 7:06pm on 23 Jun 2009, seventeenth wrote:

    In Vancouver, Canada, Setanta was a rather expensive proposition at $15 per month for the Premiership and England games. We already have access to two Premiership games per week together with live games from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and MLS. We also get odd games from other countries like Holland, plus many live international games.

    We used to get many England games on regular TV with some on 'Pay per view' at say $20 - $25 each. Major tournaments like the World Cup are also on regular TV. The biggest loss then for the average soccer fan was the odd England match and for these we visit the local tavern.

    In this particular markent then it is easy to see why Setanta was not a big draw and its demise will bring no tears.

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  • 5. At 7:07pm on 23 Jun 2009, seventeenth wrote:

    I am not a NEW member!

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  • 6. At 7:17pm on 23 Jun 2009, SerieA wrote:

    Good riddance of Setanta

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  • 7. At 7:18pm on 23 Jun 2009, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso wrote:

    I heard in America that ESPN may buy Setanta. Is there any information about that in BBC Sports?

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  • 8. At 7:25pm on 23 Jun 2009, fatoldprop wrote:

    I think they did themselves in with all the negative publicity generated by their failure to honour customers' wishes to cancel. For a service that sold itself as "No Contract", they made it as difficult as they could for you to cancel - giving spurious phone numbers, long waiting times on premium phone numbers, different PO Boxes to write to. After 6 months of trying to get them to stop taking subscriptions, I finally had to threaten to leave my bank of 25 years to get them stopped from taking from my credit card.

    A few quick Google searches (try: "Cancelling Setanta") confirmed I was by no means alone in those experiences. Bad news travels fast. Sorry for any innocent staff who lost their jobs, but all the ones I dealt with seemed to know it was all a game.

    I'm afraid I shan't be shedding any tears for them.

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  • 9. At 7:34pm on 23 Jun 2009, AndyJ wrote:

    I always felt they missed an opportunity to do pay as you go matches, just to be different from sky. I would never pay a subscription to sky or setanta, but the occasional match would have been more palatable

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  • 10. At 7:35pm on 23 Jun 2009, robtheref wrote:

    now hopefully the bbc can get live football again

    blue square premier bbc3 thursday evenings?

    trust me its a good league there are hardly any 0-0 draws and its real footbal;, none of this diving, play acting just everyday people many of whom have a day job before playing football, its entertaining,

    alot of the bsp teams rely on there tv revenue

    come on bbc rescue them

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  • 11. At 7:39pm on 23 Jun 2009, mihirismyhero wrote:

    Setanta, Setanta. How can the FA have any problem with how the Premier League has negotiated its tv rights? Furthermore, what is actually wrong with one broadcaster having the rights to showing live football? If Sky was bad at what it does (which it is not) then why does the European court feel the need to say that it is anti-competitive? I have personally experienced On Digital! At the time everyone thought it was going to be ok but Setanta is just history repeating itself. The Fa should feel very sorry. Why did it think that granting Setanta and ITV England away and home matches respectively was a good idea? I remember....Match of the Day were over critical of England and Brian Barwick thought otherwise. Poor choice and the viewer is worse off. Like I said, sky does its job impeccably and wants to do it in what! Let them get on with it! For the 23 games that ESPN has secured, I will have to pay an additional fee to watch.....who is better off? as for Brian Barwick, can anyone explain why he received a pay off in excess of £1 million?

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  • 12. At 7:42pm on 23 Jun 2009, eric the mighty wrote:

    Hooray. The sheer avarice of this company has come back and bit it in the nether regions. Why did they fail?

    Jumping in with an artificially-high bid, in order to flog out subscriptions at high prices, not for any kind of contribution to the sport and it's followers, but simply to exploit the demand.

    Well pay-for-tv, as Rupert Murdoch has shown, is a long-haul business. Sky's investment has been huge and although he is the evil empire, Rupert Murdoch has always given relatively good value for money.

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  • 13. At 7:52pm on 23 Jun 2009, upsidedown wrote:

    Good insightful blog on an interesting matter Mihir. I enjoy your distinctive spin - keep it up!

    I watch most of my football from Australia and bought a Setanta subscription for the England qualifiers. I found the subscription expensive for what it was (no offence, but I have limited interest in SPL). I didn't have any negative experiences with Setanta, although I watched with interest the debacle over the Croatia England game and thought at the time that as a new player it was hardly making friends.

    In Oz the EPL is exclusively on Fox (the equivalent of Sky) which has good coverage, although it annoys me that they fill the white space with adverts - I thought I was paying for the privelige of not being sold to.

    ESPN in Australia is a very poor third. The quality of the picture is woeful. The quality of commentary is getting better from a very low base, but the bias towards Americanisms such as "Great Block!" is galling in the extreme.

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  • 14. At 8:03pm on 23 Jun 2009, I Am Deluded - Hughton Is A Geordie wrote:

    Fatoldprop, I had the same problem and I for one am not sad at this nws, only wish that ESPN was going to be shown on Sky within the general sports package, alas not.

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  • 15. At 8:12pm on 23 Jun 2009, chrisbabs wrote:

    the fact that we had to pay to watch our national sides away games is an insult. i am glad setanta never paid their full amount to the fa serves em right for being so greedy. i really was hoping the bbc or itv would pick up where setanta left off but it seems no we now have to pay espn for the privilege. we already pay sky ( well i do ) and the tv licence and they want us to pay espn as well. i hope espn realise why setanta went under its cos people simply would not fork out any more money to watch football. sky are the best because they have been doing it longer itv tried to copy them and setanta tried as well but what happened? they both fell short i reckon espn will do exactly the same.

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  • 16. At 8:14pm on 23 Jun 2009, andie99uk wrote:

    So, now its stopped actually broadcasting, Will the BBC look into ANY of the rights that are up on offer?
    We have:
    The IPL
    the NRL
    certain boxing events
    SPL football
    and finally, Golf.
    Thats just for starters.
    My money is on the BBC despite its regular insistance that it loves sport, will not even bother to look into anything that was on setanta and use the excuse that it was a minority broadcaster with minority sports.
    The problem with this excuse is that as a Public Service Broadcaster, it actually has a duty to look into purchasing these rights, unless of course the BBC only defines minority's by being disabled, gay or an ethnic minority.
    Look at the BBC HD service. On the whole, its pretty poor fair. Even though it holds the rights to F1, it couldnt be bothered to offer the British GP in HD to UK viewers, yet Wimbledon (Tennis is a minority sport apart from 2 weeks a year) gets the full HD treatment.

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  • 17. At 8:15pm on 23 Jun 2009, Owls99 wrote:

    I've been a Setanta subscriber in the US for years, though they were pricey at $15 a month and offered nothing in HD, and I usually had to pay an extra $25 for each of the England matches, friendlies as well.
    I had no trouble at all canceling my subscription because it was through my satellite provider, Dish Network. And despite the hype of ESPN, I look forward to watching more EPL football on ESPN, in HD. The HD makes the hype tolerable.
    Here the ESPN broadcasts are very high quality. Of course I also get EPL matches on FSC, low-resolution, but they can't spell football any better than ESPN.
    That was the best part of Setanta, that they didn't use the six-letter "s" word to describe football. Sigh. Now I'll have to get used to that all over again.
    But at least it will be a good picture, unless of course the feed is not in HD. Which is another problem, especially with the Golf HD channel here ( their HD broadcasts are often with non-HD feeds, so the concept of HD is worthless ). So far I haven't had that problem with ESPN.
    But ESPN here does have other problems, like they schedule a match on one of their channels and I set it up to record on the DVR, but just before the broadcast they switch it to another of their channels and I miss it entirely. I think I'm about to watch football and all I get is bowling. Can't trust them.
    Wish I could get actual and reliable HD feeds from the UK.

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  • 18. At 8:17pm on 23 Jun 2009, Chris wrote:

    If Setanta had taken the money and spent it on showing the other leagues in Scotland and England they would have more of a fan base and more opportunity to pay their bills.

    Why do they have to show french football. Surely if that money was plied into Eng Divs Championship, 1 and 2, Scot Leagues 1, 2 and even 3 the way they have with Blue Square leagues there would have been people out there who would sign up.
    I'm not saying film every game but there are bound to be some decent games occaisionally.
    People move around this country and cant make their own team matches sometimes.

    And anyway... who wants to watch constant repeats of French Football. The few matches I saw were worse than going down to watch my team Elgin City at the bottom of Scots league 3.

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  • 19. At 8:18pm on 23 Jun 2009, Arsenal Fanatic wrote:

    Setanta have got no one to blame. I believe with a well planned marketing plan, they could have successfully executed their business plan. But again it was kind of Setanta having to sort out left overs after SKY had snatched up the so called' grand slams'

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  • 20. At 8:23pm on 23 Jun 2009, Stu wrote:

    Not to mention the fact that it is becoming easier every day to find decent quality, live feeds on the internet of football matches. Why would I pay to watch the couple of games I am really interested in when I can get them for free?
    Also, here in Canada, football still isn't that popular and the same goes for the US.

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  • 21. At 8:27pm on 23 Jun 2009, ArthurBalfour wrote:

    Thank you for that Premier League press release.

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  • 22. At 8:31pm on 23 Jun 2009, sirlionfan wrote:

    Setanta at $15 in Canada is a bargain, especially for rugby fans and football fans. The rugby coverage is the only available to North America and is very good, covering many competitions, including league. Football is good also on Saturday's, lots of games. Special 1 TV very clever. ESPN will mess up coverage with US commentators saying stupid things. I hope the Setanta service in N.A. can survive at that low price.
    Anyone who complains about $15 is very tight. In U.K. it may be overpriced for what you get compared to SKY but here in Canada long live Setanta!

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  • 23. At 8:33pm on 23 Jun 2009, delayedconfusion wrote:

    Setanta could not show lower League English football, as Sky have the rights to that.

    They were admittedly poor as a customer-based operation, but this is not an overall reflection on Setanta, but on the lunacy of having to have rival operators share the TV rights. Did anyone ever feel cheated, wronged or exploited when Sky owned all the rights?

    Unless ESPN charge £5 monthly as a maximum, they are not going to increase the number of subscriptions by any significant number (although as a bigger fish, it's probably not of such vital importance). Asking people to pay more in total for exactly the same number of games as a couple of seasons ago has been proved not to work.

    Setanta had a raft of other sports (which, admittedly they would have paid some money for) but even with those, they could not attract sufficient subscribers to break even. Presumably, on ESPN, the football will be sandwiched between American fayre such as college basketball, bull riding and tobacco chewing.

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  • 24. At 8:36pm on 23 Jun 2009, The Answer is NO! wrote:

    Setanta failed because they covered too many sports. If they followed the formula of the old PremPlus, just two in the studio, covered the game and no other flamboyant acts then they would have been OK. After all, footy fans just want to watch the game, not have it rolled into all the other sports they covered. Quicker the day comes where I can choose just to watch football and pay just for that (not golf or egg chasing etc) the better. Oh, and the licence fee should be illegal too (isn't that a monopoly???). I'm glad I don't pay it!

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  • 25. At 8:40pm on 23 Jun 2009, OssettRobin wrote:

    Blue Square Premier on BBC 3 . 1st game involving AFC Wimbledon. how good would that be . come on beeb give us some proper football without the diving.

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  • 26. At 9:01pm on 23 Jun 2009, Einveldi wrote:

    As much as I would love to see the BBC snap up these rights, I can understand fully why they wouldn't - they can't afford to, put simply, "thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded" (to quote Jeremy Clarkson). It would take some justifying to splash out millions more on football after the cost of bringing F1 back.

    The truth is that only Sky have been in the position to own and exploit these rights in the first place. Setanta tried too hard too fast and got burnt. ESPN are not big enough in the UK to leap into this market and expect to be on Sky's level.

    16. andie99uk: The BBC does not show a HD feed of Formula One because Formula One Management (FOM) does not provide one. The BBC, like all broadcasters with an FOM contract, is duty bound to take its feed, and can't just turn up with its own cameras... no more than Channel 5 can.

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  • 27. At 9:04pm on 23 Jun 2009, LawBestCharlton wrote:

    The only reason I am mildly upset by the demise of Setanta is the fact that this is yet another competitor/rival seen off by the unstoppable juggernaut that is the BSkyB/News International/Rupert Murdoch empire.

    I welcome ESPN's entry to the UK market. I watch a lot of American sports, and of all the various broadcasters, I've always found ESPN's coverage to be the best - most professional, best commentators, least hyperbolic.

    This links to my original point - in this country we are in danger of the coverage of our most popular sports being monopolised by one broadcaster - Sky. In the States the Major Leagues of all the top sports (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB) are covered live by various broadcasters - terrestrial channels like NBC and CBS as well as pay-to-view media like ESPN, Fox etc. This ensures healthy competition and value for money.

    Alas, in the UK, we have quite the opposite situation. Premier League football? Sky. The Ashes and all live cricket? Sky. Lions and Premiership rugby? Sky. All our major sports, monopolised by one broadcaster. At least Setanta, for all their faults and greed, were trying to break Murdoch's vice-like grip on sports coverage in this country.

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  • 28. At 9:04pm on 23 Jun 2009, ... wrote:

    If you steel the International game from us, refuse us the rights to see the highlights and do your best to block any internet streaming of the games within the country, then you should expect nothing other than a mass boycott - which is exactly what they got.

    Good bye and good riddance.

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  • 29. At 9:10pm on 23 Jun 2009, John Birch wrote:

    Agree with those who said that Setanta's cancellation trap was their downfall. It was the main - indeed only - reason we did not subscribe, and I suspect we were not alone.

    From reading subscribers comments it was clear that this was an inept and badly managed company with no concept of customer relations. They died and deserved to.

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  • 30. At 9:13pm on 23 Jun 2009, 6foot8cdngooner wrote:

    I disagree with comment #4. I live in Canada and Setanta's coverage brought us football league champiobship games and SPL games, and the FA Cup rounds, as well as access to ALL EPL games, for the first time ever. The programming around the games, including fan based shows brought me closer to a UK fan's exeriences. Setanta Sports Canada lives on for now. I, for one, will miss it if it goes because english football is more than just the EPL. We don't have SKY. Without Setanta, the games on offer will be far fewer than we have access to now. $15 per month was well worth that sort of access to UK football. I already miss setanta sports news, as the online feed allowed me to watch coverage of UK football from a UK perspective, instead of being filtered through a North American lens.

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  • 31. At 9:14pm on 23 Jun 2009, lordlaptop wrote:

    As an Aldershot Town fan, Setanta's coverage of the Blue Square Premier League was legendary in the season in which we won promotion to the football league; and the 'Setanta Babes' always brought a wry smile and a lustful grin from many a red blooded male fan. Their coverage of Prem games was pretty good too. However I have paid not a penny to Setanta, preferring to watch games I couldnt get to, in my local boozer or on good old JustinTV. Setanta's problems were two fold - Marketing,which was pretty amateurish; and Customer Service which my pals and everyone else (including the Premier League) who has blogged on the topic say was diabolical. The people running Setanta got it well wrong, and will go the same way as ITV Digital. The Monopolies Commission should intervene to stop Sky getting any more live football - ITV4 or BBC3 must surely see a 'niche' market for live non-league, SPL, Prem and England games? Good blog BTW Mihir old boy.
    Support your local non-league a season ticket.

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  • 32. At 9:15pm on 23 Jun 2009, snidey wrote:

    Setanta was too clogged with Scottish football for my liking.

    It already had enough conference football so there was no need to include the SPL.

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  • 33. At 9:18pm on 23 Jun 2009, Russia 1 Georgia 0 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 34. At 9:19pm on 23 Jun 2009, Russia 1 Georgia 0 wrote:

    I'm NOT a new member.

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  • 35. At 9:19pm on 23 Jun 2009, kruador wrote:

    The link to "ITV's current delicate financial position" links to an article about ITV Digital's collapse in 2001. It's a relevant analogy - I maintain that Reading's unwillingness to spend above current income dates from the loss of TV revenue that caused - but doesn't say anything about the current position.

    So. How long before Sky also collapses? I can't believe that everyone with a subscription will keep it up for the new season. If people are economising, I'd think it would be one of the earlier things to go.

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  • 36. At 9:21pm on 23 Jun 2009, Ugly_Betsy wrote:

    At the very least BBC get the Blue Square Premier games. That would be great.

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  • 37. At 9:39pm on 23 Jun 2009, Faustino wrote:

    #11 "Furthermore, what is actually wrong with one broadcaster having the rights to showing live football? If Sky was bad at what it does (which it is not) then why does the European court feel the need to say that it is anti-competitive?" Competitive markets generally produce the best outcomes for buyers, in terms of choice, price, innovation and quality. But the EU does not seem to grasp that competition is not an end in itself - it's the outcome, e.g. in this context a seamless, all-embracing football tv package at a reasonable price, which is important. The EU repeatedly shows two things: a lack of understanding of modern media and technology industries, e.g. its vendetta against Microsoft, and an unwillingness to tackle genuine competition issues where major national governments are concerned, e.g. France's anti-competitive support of many French firms and industries.

    Conversely, #27, Rupert Murdoch has a terrific grasp of modern media industries, whatever you think of his companies, News has the best newspapers in Australia and the UK (The Australian and The Times), and Fox Sports in Aus provides excellent sports coverage in spite of absurd legislation which favours the free-to-air channels which abuse their position, e.g. showing Moto GP on delay in the early hours rather than live. We get ALL EPL matches live. Murdoch v the EU? I know who I'd choose.

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  • 38. At 9:43pm on 23 Jun 2009, Si7777 wrote:

    Regarding some people's concerns that ESPN will mess up with the commentary on the broadcasts (Americanisms, "Soccer" etc.): I would expect that for the UK version of ESPN, they would use UK commentators where appropriate. ESPN Classics already does this. ESPN America doesn't for it's coverage, simply because it makes no sense to do so. I would expect at least some of the (now ex) Setanta presenters to make the transition to ESPN's coverage next season.

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  • 39. At 9:47pm on 23 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    Its going to be a nightmare tomorrow in Walkabout bars when the State of Orgin is not shown due to Setanta going belly up.

    Can't see the BBC picking anything up. It will all go back to Sky who will get it on the cheap.

    Setanta should have stuck to what they did best GAA, Rugby and SFA.

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  • 40. At 10:00pm on 23 Jun 2009, smurfsdabomb wrote:

    Setanta is the best sports broadcaster around. It's a loss to all sports fans. =(

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  • 41. At 10:08pm on 23 Jun 2009, MGUK82 wrote:

    Let me tell you where you went wrong Setanta!

    If you're a guy like me, moving into his own place for the first time circa '06 and you're a sports fan, then yes Sky's sports package was worth paying extra for. You could also add in one off payments for "PremPlus" games. Sorted.

    Then Setanta came along. Originally I was curious...till I found out that to watch any action I would have to add a further subcription to them. Even before the credit crunch I couldn't be bothered to do that.

    England games? I go down the pub.

    Premiership? That's what Match of the Day's for.

    Community Shield? One of the terrestrial channels will screen highlights.

    SPL? Minor loss but I lived with it.

    Only real headache I ever had was when I tried to follow Bayern Munich vs Aberdeen in the UEFA Cup. The match was on Setanta and no pub was willing to screen it. Overall though, money very well saved.

    OK though, so about people that don't have Sky Sports? Well in the 21st century, if they have a cable/satellite service without a sports package then chances are they're not sports fans!

    Here lies Setanta, killed off by overestimating the size of their market.

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  • 42. At 10:12pm on 23 Jun 2009, PeterThePieEater wrote:

    #27 hear hear - absolutely spot on. Setanta weren't great but at least they were taking on the Murdoch/Sky empire, which for some reason people seem to accept having a vice-like grip on all of our crown jewel events - apparently just because they've been around the longest. Good luck to the next challengers!

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  • 43. At 10:17pm on 23 Jun 2009, foxincleck wrote:

    Come on BBC lets get proper coverage of football back on our screens with commentators who are unbiased and know what they are talking about. We've suffered enough with second rate presentation of the other broadcasters! Surely the funds can be found when F1 fails to honour their agreement with the BBC by not providing a competition, who watches it anyway?

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  • 44. At 10:22pm on 23 Jun 2009, Paul Fletcher wrote:

    Kruador - #35 - I have duly updated that link. Hope that helps.

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  • 45. At 10:26pm on 23 Jun 2009, pintof6x wrote:

    Setanta have the second most apalling customer services i ever encountered (the worst being virgin media), so they are where they deserve to be

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  • 46. At 10:32pm on 23 Jun 2009, David Fox wrote:

    I think it's disappointing that as far as i can tell so far apart from a brief mention in articles the BBC has failed to highlight the problems that the collapse of Setanta will create for teams in the Blue Square Premier as well as Blue Square North and South. The Setanta deal is worth £70,000 and £15,000 per team respectively in these leagues at the very minimum, no small chunk of change for teams at this level. It would have been nice to see a blog such as this touch upon the plight the loss of this revenue may create for our non-league clubs.

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  • 47. At 10:33pm on 23 Jun 2009, jez wrote:

    I can't believe how short people's memories are. ITV Digital was less than ten years ago, and yet history was allowed to repeat itself.

    The sooner that the people that matter realise that the sports broadcast industry is a natural monopoly the better (who want to buy a second subscription because a quarter of games are not on the channel you have already?)

    How long before we see this crazy cycle of companies trying to (and being encouraged to) copy Sky's customer aquisition strategy again? What do we think will happen then next time?

    Hint - look at what has happened twice already...

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  • 48. At 10:41pm on 23 Jun 2009, medal53 wrote:

    Couldn't agree more with 'fatoldprop' about the terrible service provided by Setanta. Couldn't get a signal, supposed to be free for first 3 months but wasn't and had to trash my credit card for a new one because I couldn't stop them taking payments. The staff were highly trained to be totally unusable. With such a great idea for competing with Sky, why couldn't the company be a professional outfit? It does make you wonder whether ESPN will be any different. No tears here either I'm afraid....

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  • 49. At 10:41pm on 23 Jun 2009, WhoAreYa wrote:

    If you steel the International game from us, refuse us the rights to see the highlights and do your best to block any internet streaming of the games within the country, then you should expect nothing other than a mass boycott - which is exactly what they got.

    Good bye and good riddance.


    Spot on. Bye bye setanta, I've never been so pleased by a failure

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  • 50. At 10:41pm on 23 Jun 2009, Seqenenre wrote:

    One reason why they failed was everyone knew they made cancellation practically I found out.

    I'm not even sure how the MMC/OFT work out that splittinglive football packages helps the consumer when all it does is means you get to pay double your subscription to watch it all.....

    I won't miss Setanta. After my experience with them I think they deserved to go bust for very dubious trading practices.......Good Riddance.

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  • 51. At 10:42pm on 23 Jun 2009, Lee wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 52. At 10:43pm on 23 Jun 2009, Seqenenre wrote:

    I'm not a new why this pre mod stuff please???

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  • 53. At 10:48pm on 23 Jun 2009, Andres Mora wrote:

    I watch football from Costa Rica, and ESPN2 had already the rights to broadcast all England matches live plus FA Cup and Carling Cup (EPL is shown on Fox Sports). I wonder what's going to happen now the rights have changed hands...

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  • 54. At 10:55pm on 23 Jun 2009, I am Berbatov wrote:

    I tried to cancel today but was told i couldnt?? I live in Northern Ireland and was told by the Setanta "helpine" (i'll use the term "helpline" loosely) that Northern Ireland & the Rep of Ireland would still be receiving the channel. However, my TV says differently and there is no bradcast on any of my Setanta channels.

    I phoned the Rep of Ireland helpline and was told i had to cancel in writing, even though i'm not receiving the damn channels?? I told the girl i would be cancelling my direct debit with immediate effect, only for her to tell me i couldnt and that Setanta would come after me!!....Setanta, are going to come after me, for payment for NOT showing me any channels....

    At first i felt sorry for the people losing their jobs...after speaking to this cow, i think maybe its best that she is not in employment.

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  • 55. At 10:58pm on 23 Jun 2009, clovisguy wrote:

    #32 - Snidey : 'Setanta was too clogged with Scottish football for my liking.'

    We in Scotland are entitled to watch our country's football, the same as you are entitled to watch English matches. We were paying the same subscriptions as you were. I rarely watch the EPL, the option to watch or not is yours. At the end of the day, thanks to bad management, there are sadly no winners. But there are people who have lost their jobs. That is the really sad thing.

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  • 56. At 11:03pm on 23 Jun 2009, victoryrose2k1 wrote:

    i think the bbc should buy the pga tour golf and stick it on bbc3 or on the red button.
    it would be great as they dont show as much golf anymore seeming as the british masters aint being played this year, the world matchplay from wentworth has been rebranded and handed sky coverage of first 2 days of action at the PGA.
    Another gd reason is because it keeps ken brown working on the PGA tour like he did for Setanta. i think it would be great viewing.
    As for the football England games should be for all football fans and shouldnt have to pay to see our national team. Everyone should be allowed to view all Enlgand games without a subscription of any sort. Common BBC this is a great opportuninty!!!!!

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  • 57. At 11:04pm on 23 Jun 2009, InterFalcon wrote:

    Here's hoping sky pick up the FA cup coverage instead of ITV!

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  • 58. At 11:06pm on 23 Jun 2009, Canariesjon wrote:

    I live in Canada and would be very, very disappointed if Setanta disappeared here. Every Premier League game was available, as well as FA Cup, SPL games and, my favorite, the Football League. If ESPN is broadcasting them then the CRTC, in its idiocy, will block them because ESPN is American. I hope Setanta continues on here.

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  • 59. At 11:10pm on 23 Jun 2009, redforever wrote:

    I disagree with the poster from vancouver, saying Setanta was of little significance in Canada.
    First of all between Setanta and a ccouple of other channels, every game of significance was covered, and repeated later if you missed it live. Previously the choice was much more limited and no delayed viewings. $15 a month, which is less than 10gbp, is not a lot to watch, for me, Liverpool live EVERY single game, when you consider Englands pay perview is $25 for one game.
    I know that in the UK people were unhappy that this was a very limited channel for the majority of people and that so many important games were shown on it, which I can relate to, but its demise has me wondering how much soccer I will get to see this season. I also enjoyed the update programming and the Mourinho spitting image programme!

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  • 60. At 11:14pm on 23 Jun 2009, scarolinared wrote:

    Setanta coverage of the Premier League in the US is better than Fox Soccer (Murdoch) and is good value at $15 per month, however is not carried by many cable providers, satellite gives much better availability.

    With the loss of the UK market will Setanta still have the same coverage in the US - I somehow doubt it. I hope someone else picks up "Football Matters" and "Special One TV". From what I gather the ESPN deal does not include N.American rights, but can Setanta deliver without a UK market?

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  • 61. At 11:16pm on 23 Jun 2009, HumptyDummy wrote:

    I can't get a satellite dish attached to my house, and I'm not in a cable area, so I appreciated what Setanta offered to Freeview viewers (sadly only Setanta 1, but it was better than nothing at all).

    Hopefully ESPN will find its way on to Freeview, or Sky might finally get their pay-for Freeview package sorted, but in the meantime the only live football I'll see on tv will be the occasional international, Europa League or Scottish League Cup/Scottish Cup match on the BBC or the Champions League (which I'm not that fussed about) on ITV or Europa League on Five. As I live in Scotland and STV are at odds with the ITV network, there are no England games or FA Cup Games. If it hadn't been for Setanta on Freeview I wouldn't have seen the FA Cup Final! (and I have watched football on the web, like this year's Irish Cup Final (and thank for for that BBC, much appreciated) but it's simply better to watch in in a tv).

    So...dear broadcasters, please remember that those of us with no satellite dish and no cable connection would like live sport, especially football, on terrestrial Freeview!

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  • 62. At 11:39pm on 23 Jun 2009, this bhoy likes pie aka pieman316 wrote:

    I'm just worried for the SPL now. I really hope it ends up with Sky, as I can't afford two subscription charges. Virgin Media used to provide Setanta without additional charges with their XL package, but if ESPN win the bid I can't see that happening again.

    Another thing, does anybody know if the Guiness Premiership will automatically revert back to Sky now?

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  • 63. At 11:40pm on 23 Jun 2009, Attila The Cat wrote:

    For the FA to bleat about the Premier League not wanting any more to do with a company which is obviously going down the pan displays a staggering level of naivety. There is an old saying...shame on you if you fool me once, shame on me if you fool me twice. If the FA are daft enough to throw money at anyone who makes big promises without doing the maths I'll be giving them a call in the morning about my plan to broadcast old tapes of Division 4 midweek matches to the Pitcairn Islands.

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  • 64. At 00:00am on 24 Jun 2009, the_jerry wrote:

    I was employed by Setanta to deal with new subscriptions over the phone for satellite customers. As a previous employee I saw that customer service was always shocking, it was absolutely awful. This was due to the compnay they had paid to deal with subscriptions. On busy match days Customer services was very often closed, at the time it was needed most. the computer systems were untrustworthy and not all subscriptions were completed as they should have been. I didnt enjoy the expereince as the whole company was an absolute joke, with no body knwoing what the hell was going on.

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  • 65. At 00:06am on 24 Jun 2009, i_amReggieP wrote:

    Mihir, you're being more than a little soft on the EPL, as someone said above, your piece has the stamp of something from their PR Department.

    I suggest all concerned have a listen to the SPL Chairman Lex Gold's Press Conference on the matter. What comes out was that 18 separate entities were in a relationship with Setanta (Football Leagues, other Sports and Broadcasters?) and amazingly they were all on board to help Setanta through their problems.
    Who jumped the gun, immediately why old money bags the EPL without a thought about all the other organisations they were putting in jeopardy. I guuess we shouldn't be surprised, like their players, they are obsessed with money and their own selfish interests.
    The SPL gave Setanta three extension to find a solution and you sense that another would have been given, but the EPL jumped the gun. The impression from the SPL is of a happy relationship which saw about 60M put into the game by Setanta. They will be very hard for the SPL to replace, not to say the smaller sports whihc have been left hanging out to dry.
    Thanks EPL, shame on you.

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  • 66. At 00:27am on 24 Jun 2009, WebbyFoxes wrote:

    Well done Mihir, this blog gets to the point and informative.
    I have already put a bid to the FA over the Setanta demise...yes £10 seems pocket change but if it keeps the FA Contract from some unknown Staellite broadacster thats fine plus get to seel the games at a decent price :).
    I hope the Beeb save the Non League..I would watch highlights of it and I urge the BBC to do some games get enterainment value.

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  • 67. At 00:30am on 24 Jun 2009, queanbeyan wrote:

    Setanta's loss will be felt everywhere, and now it seems from what I read that their position is not recoverable. There braodcasts were very welcome and filled an important niche. ESPN broadcasts are notoriously of poor quality, so poor that it is hardly worth watching. And the availability over the internet was terrific. Also, Setanta recently upgraded its web platform. This is a really tragic loss and I doubt the gap will be filled by anyone.

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  • 68. At 01:26am on 24 Jun 2009, Peter D wrote:

    Sentana's fall is curious, they have the business model for the future, pay to television becomes more and more irrelevant, in the face of web and mobile media, people will be able to choose what they watch like a picking items from a menu. It is odd to see people speaking about ITV, Sky etc, their business model may just last another 5 years then its over. ESPn is showing games on the web, ESPN360, as a subsidized sponsorship for ATT broadband on-line. A loss leader that will someday start charging.. I watch all the Champuions league, Confederation Cup, La Liga and serie A on-line, but I know the days of the freebie are limited. Fox Soccer Channel in the US, which has good English commentators, is currently advertising some skin cream call toll free. There are No major advertisers of note, British Airlines used to advertise, but I rarely see any of their ads. The only viable model is pay to view which I do for most of the England games

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  • 69. At 02:22am on 24 Jun 2009, arthurmee wrote:

    The failure of Setanta means a lot more to the Scottish Premier League than its English equivalent. You, however ,yet again choose to highlight the effect on the English premiership.
    When,sir, will you fulfill your obligations to the entire United Kingdom and give a balanced report on non-English matters?

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  • 70. At 02:24am on 24 Jun 2009, TOareaFan wrote:

    So, Setanta UK has gone off the air but they continue to broadcast in North America.....question...if the rights they had to EPL, FA, and SPL matches have all reverted back....what exactly will they air here?

    Is the administrator hoping no one over here heard about the bankruptcy and that we will keep paying? Is the "All Special 1 TV" channel worth $15 a month?

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  • 71. At 02:25am on 24 Jun 2009, Macopotamus wrote:

    @Owls99: This doesn't affect the US rights, they're still with FSC (who incidentally are starting an HD feed in early 2010 to go with the later stages of their Champions League coverage).

    I can live with FSC using the word "soccer", it's the starting of the broadcast five minutes late but still claiming it's live is the problem.

    Setanta US are still in business as far as I know, so their coverage of England internationals may continue.

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  • 72. At 03:56am on 24 Jun 2009, coffeeandnan wrote:

    The Premier League must look after itself. The fallout from collapsed TV deals between the FA and broadcasters are not the concern of the Premier League.

    The FA has already shown how absurd its grasp of financial management is: If the FA hadn't built an utterly unnecessary stadium in an inaccessible part of London, that will take forever to pay for, then it would not have needed to prostitute itself to Setanta.

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  • 73. At 04:55am on 24 Jun 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    45; you've obviously never had to deal with NTL ot Comet then?

    Setanta's business was flwed from the start, and they missed an important lsson from the collapse of ONdigital: NO-ONE is interested enough in lower league matches to take out a subscription based just on that!
    Also NO-ONE watches the community shield, except the supporters of the clubs involved, and NO-ONE with a decent Broadband connection, is going to subscribe just for a couple of their team's matches, when they can find links to all of them on fans' forums. Sky wins out as when you buy the whole all-in package, you get so much more

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  • 74. At 04:56am on 24 Jun 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    how can three years be a "new member"?

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  • 75. At 06:14am on 24 Jun 2009, Bendtner's finishing touch wrote:

    meh... spanish league is where all the stars are now ... who is broadcasting that?

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  • 76. At 06:42am on 24 Jun 2009, docherty wrote:

    Good riddance. Their business model was never going to get the bulk subscriptions that they needed. Sky used to sell their Premier plus games for £50 a season if signed up quickly and this was just a simple one off payment. I Signed up for Setanta's first season but it was £9.99 a month and at the end of it I had trouble in getting rid of them. When you closed your account, there always seemed to be demands for more money, even though you had given them 28 days notice. They were phoning up offering "deals" but I had enough of them first time around. No football fan in this country will be sad at their demise....

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  • 77. At 07:26am on 24 Jun 2009, ramtec wrote:

    Sean Williams, managing director of strategy at BT Retail, said: "The failure of Setanta throws into stark relief the market failure in pay TV in the UK."

    This from BT, the company that remotely and retrospectively disabled its pay card slot functionality for independent Setanta card holders on its BT Vision boxes! This meant that Setanta viewers on an annual contract would have to pay twice to watch Setanta...

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  • 78. At 08:04am on 24 Jun 2009, Sergei from IT wrote:

    #76 - I think you are me in disguise - had an identical experience. Cancelled last november - didn't actually get rid of them till Feb. Latest pestering phone call last week 3.99 per month or 10.00 per quarter. Thank god for their demise.

    Bring back Prem Plus I say but make it BSP Premier plus. Despite what #73 says their is a lot of true support for non-league football, not from people who jump on any band-wagon that happens be passing.

    Alternatively, BBC local radio already broadcast commentaries on the internet for BSP matches. Would it be too difficult to add a video stream to it?. I would quite happily pay a reasonable sum for that.

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  • 79. At 08:22am on 24 Jun 2009, I_Keep_changin_my_name wrote:

    Im sick to death with all this financial rubbish in the game. I dont care what channle i watch my team play. I just want to be able to watch my team, and not pay through the roof for it.

    Why should the fans suffer because of businesses that have no bearing on my life flounder.

    I can see a football revolution on the horizon as more and more of us are sick of it. We pay 30 quid a month to watch footie, and up to 90 quid to go and watch live. Most of the games my team played in (Arsenal) were not even on TV. Big matches like Arsenal Bolton, Arsenal Man-City - can someone explain what is going on with this sport?

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  • 80. At 09:18am on 24 Jun 2009, mblmbl wrote:

    Alot of the rights Setanta had will probably be bought up by ESPN. I doubt that they will make enough money by just showing 2 Premier League games a week. Plus, ESPN in all probability have more cash to spend so can actually afford it unlike Setanta.

    In Asia ESPN have a joint venture with Murdochs News Corporation so I suspect that Sky will be alot friendlier towards ESPN.

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  • 81. At 09:19am on 24 Jun 2009, neilbailey wrote:

    Setanta paid too dearly for the rights, and then tried to recoup by charging too high a subscription rate. The coverage was never as good as Sky, and they didn't really deserve to survive. Their business model, based on 1.9 million subscribers was always unrealistic, and their pricing was compared unfavourably to the earlier 'additional matches' package that was offered by Sky until the 2006 season.
    I would rather that the BBC bid for the rights (getting rid of Jonathan Ross woiuld go a fair way towards the cost!), but perhaps ESPN will offer a realistic package on either Freesat or Freeview?

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  • 82. At 09:22am on 24 Jun 2009, rchrdav wrote:

    #65 you do know that the Premier League are not responsible for the SPL dont you?
    It has been clear for a couple of months that Setanta were going under and the VAT problem just made sure of it. If the Premier League had left it much longer they would have lost money as they would have been looking desparate trying to sell the rights with a couple of weeks left till the kick off.
    Anyway lets make sure that ESPN go the same way by not buying their subscription and nipping to the pub when their is a match you want to watch

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  • 83. At 09:35am on 24 Jun 2009, Carty_c wrote:

    I have scoured the various news stories re Setanta and it's british channels, but wonder how many other people are wondering about the ESPN America channel that was part of the satellite subscription. I watch this a fair bit for the baseball and american football when in season. Are others wondering what will happen when subscription ends? Does somebody know?

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  • 84. At 09:38am on 24 Jun 2009, onthebreak wrote:

    I agree. For another setanta article and other football news visit.

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  • 85. At 09:42am on 24 Jun 2009, starpetec wrote:

    The one thing I find sad about this whole Setanta thing is that most comments are about the Premier League.At least they do very well indeed from the Sky deal as they no doubt will from the new ESPN one.What is more concerning is the Blue Square league,Setanta did them proud,excellent coverage giving finance to the teams and likewise lifting the whole new public image and gave fans insight into a very exiting and competitive league.Now it's obvious no one will give them this type of coverage from now on which means it will hit the clubs financially as well as taking back to a lower profile at the same time.Take for instance my local club Oxford Utd.,there's very few clubs in the second division getting anywhere near the crowds they do in fact not too many in division one either.Please someone get hold of what's already been superbly done by Setanta and build on that woderful base.

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  • 86. At 09:43am on 24 Jun 2009, Carty_c wrote:

    Early comment saying that Setanta were the best sports broadcasters around.
    In my opinion the commentators wer rubbish, the pundits even worse, and coupled with poor camerawork and coverage made watching football on the channel a real disappointment.
    I must say though that both ITV and the BBC were not that far ahead of Setanta.

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  • 87. At 09:51am on 24 Jun 2009, huytonbaddy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 88. At 09:58am on 24 Jun 2009, jmb wrote:

    I look forward to Setanta getting hammered in courts of law in the near future, and some of the rogues behind the company being brought to justice.

    - hard to cancel subscriptions
    - hard to get them to pay up for rights

    not a great combination is it? With the stories of passing the buck around, making things as hard as possible for people to stop paying/get paid I think this company is getting it's just desserts.

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  • 89. At 10:07am on 24 Jun 2009, TeamShrek wrote:

    For all the faults of Setanta in the UK (which were as much to do with the way the Prem and FA sold games packages as anything Setanta did themselves), I hope their international and Irish businesses survive. Sky is outrageously expensive in Ireland, and more importantly, there's a strategic issue that may affect the whole country; Setanta are one of the partners in the consortium that's supposed to deliver DTT to Ireland. This consortium is already the second player after the first went bust. If Setanta goes, then the whole Irish Digital TV roadmap is on the rocks, again.

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  • 90. At 10:16am on 24 Jun 2009, InuteroXI wrote:

    Football is starting to choke on it's own greed - the commoditising of Football has made it ridiculously expensive for ordinary fans, the lifeblood of the game, to enjoy. Setanta's demise is sad for the people who work there but for the game it is a welcome sign that there may be hard times ahead and football clubs may have to operate like a normal business and charge reasonable prices with players earning big but not astronomical wages

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  • 91. At 10:17am on 24 Jun 2009, barters wrote:

    Personally I paid the Setanta subscription for the Blue Square Premier coverage. Despite the number of games covered being reduced last season the coverage was generally of a very good level. If ESPN simply go for the EPL then I will not be subscribing.

    While BSP matches are never likely to generate a huge TV audience the BBC could show a great commitment to grass-roots level football by picking up this relatively small contract.

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  • 92. At 10:22am on 24 Jun 2009, wandyr wrote:

    What fails about this blog is lack of concern for lower league football.

    Setanta have done wonders for the Blue Square Premier, as a Barrow fan the Setanta money is not only extremely useful but in some cases necessary. Grass roots football was finally getting the exposure it deserves.

    The Premier League will always find rights, it is more than likely the SPL will find rights but it is a case of 'What now' for the Conference teams and governing bodies.

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  • 93. At 10:22am on 24 Jun 2009, Chemical-Mix wrote:

    Unfortunately, Setanta was simply far too expensive for what you got. £10 or so per month, quite awful customer service and all cancellations had to be made in writing.

    This latter point caused some misery for a good friend of mine, whose cancellation letters seemed to go "missing" for many months. It took him almost 5 months to get his subscription cancelled, all the while Setanta took his £10 per month.

    I'm not sad in the slightest to see them disappear.

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  • 94. At 10:22am on 24 Jun 2009, Blue_Baby40 wrote:

    Going forward (i.e. the next contract round which I think will cover 2012-2014) should be divided as follows:-

    4 packages

    No one broadcaster to hold more than two packages
    One package to be sold to terrestrial broadcaster (by law if necessary)

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  • 95. At 10:23am on 24 Jun 2009, Blue_Baby40 wrote:

    Cheers Guys, only been posting for six years (I'll have you know I was an original member of 606..., I'll set Flecky on you...)

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  • 96. At 10:23am on 24 Jun 2009, Daviedoesdallas wrote:

    The SPL will be the hardest hit from this, and we may even see a few clubs go into administration if a suitable television deal isn't brokered soon.

    You can't really blame the EPL for giving Setanta the short shrift when they've plenty of bidders ready to snap up their TV packages.

    The real villains here, if any, are Setanta. They clearly over-stretched themselves, paying an over-inflated price for games and trying to copy the successful Sky model.

    It seems to be a common story in modern football, clubs being pumped up by massive amounts of money from television or businessmen, only for the bubble to burst and then the club and the fans are left to pick up the pieces.

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  • 97. At 10:24am on 24 Jun 2009, trueblue wrote:

    The only way we could cancel setanta was to contact the bank and get them to stop it.

    The customer service was the worst i have ever experienced and as other people have said they just make you phone different numbers etc. and try to sqeeze as much money as possible out of you.

    I am glad they are gone because anyone is better than them, lets hope BBC Scotland gets the rights to the SPL.

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  • 98. At 10:26am on 24 Jun 2009, Carty_c wrote:

    Update on ESPN America.
    They are still transmitting on satellite, and it seems they will continue to do so for a period.
    Rumours of a £5.00 ish subscription have been mentioned
    Their forum ( gives more information for those interested.

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  • 99. At 10:40am on 24 Jun 2009, ScottishChamp wrote:

    Am I the only one who didnt fall into the "subscription trap"

    Send them a letter cancel your direct debit.........simples!

    I just hope someone sorts out UFC coverage for UFC 100........

    Manchesters Own Micheal bisping in a title eliminator...

    oh and Ill also miss the 2 old firm games that I paid to watch each season!

    Hopefully sky get the SPL coverage, as someone said who wants to pay 2 seperate subbys!

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  • 100. At 10:42am on 24 Jun 2009, Jaujeno wrote:

    For all of the criticism of Sky becoming overly dominant, I can recall the very limited sport on TV before Sky. BBC and ITV needed the competition. The quality and depth of Sky´s coverage and it´s innovation has enhanced the enjoyment of football. Additionally through paying lots of money to Premier clubs, Sky has developed football and England now have arguably the best league in the world.

    I also suspect that the exposure of football on Sky has led to more fans at live games.

    Whilst Sky´s dominance is a concern, evidence to date is that the benefits of Sky vastly out weigh any negativity.

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  • 101. At 10:48am on 24 Jun 2009, gixer1crasher wrote:

    Agree with a lot of points on here. The customer "service" was truly dreadful, I think I would find a street mugging easier to digest. After my experiences with Satanta which are similar to many others I was determined to never use them again and consequently I feel justified by their failure. However I am sad that there is no proper competition to Sky that cannot be healthy for anyone regardles of your viewing preferences.

    The idea of the BBC taking on Non-League football is fantastic and I hope it gets serious consideration. I would not pay a subscription for the non-league games but it would be a great way of showing some live football on TV for little expense in the way of rights (there is still the cost of the live broadcast units to consider) and would help grass roots football, everyone would win.

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  • 102. At 10:51am on 24 Jun 2009, Stuart Pearce Badger wrote:

    One bit of good news is that the ESPN web site says the Premier matches will be broadcast in HD. Ref other comments on Setanta customer service, I once asked them when they would start HD transmissions. After about a month I got a response telling me all about which matches they covered (I was already a subscriber). On the question I asked, not a dickybird. So I took it (accurately) as a no.

    Sorry for the people losing their jobs, but no tears for Setanta

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  • 103. At 10:53am on 24 Jun 2009, goodMartyMole wrote:

    I will certainly miss the Setanta website. It was the best football website by a county mile. It beat the bbc and sky hands down.

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  • 104. At 10:55am on 24 Jun 2009, TheDeluded wrote:

    The F.A. should be ashamed of themselves for selling England games to foreign broadcasters so that English people have to pay foreign broadcasters to see their own country play their national game.

    If you think that's politically incorrect, then tell me if you think the Germans, French or anybody else would stand for it.

    I'm ecstatic that Setanta have failed, but I'm still peeved that 'our' F.A. has not learned the lesson. And also that 'our' BBC has not even looked like getting in on the act and beating all-comers to televising England games. ALL England games. 'our' BBC doesn't have the ITV excuse. The BBC is immune to the credit crunch because of the big license fee con, so it should at least provide the service that everyone really wants it to provide.
    And if anybody out there wants to argue ... just check out the viewing figures. Or get the BBC to do that 'stopping people in the street and asking stupid questions' thing they do so regularly, pointlessly, and so well.

    So sod Setanta. And Sky. And ITV for that matter. They have first refusal and seem to be refusing. Sod 'em all. The BBC and the F.A. should do what we pay through the noses for them to do and show us our nations football!

    One more thing:
    'ENGLAND' is not a product. The Premier League is a product.

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  • 105. At 11:08am on 24 Jun 2009, Secret Sam wrote:

    I know there will be other fall out and collereal damage, but I think the root of some of Setanta's ills can be traced to the time they tried to rip off the terrestrial channels for the rights to England highlights - as I recall they asked for £1M when the previous rate was £400k. Many people who might have signed up with Setanta were put off by their bullying tactics. And bullies never prosper.

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  • 106. At 11:18am on 24 Jun 2009, Lesta Legend wrote:

    If you disagree with the monopolisation of our popular sports by SKY, then i suggest you stream online or better still buy a digital box like STARVIEW..... SKY ISNT great value for money

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  • 107. At 11:22am on 24 Jun 2009, leazes-ender wrote:

    When Newcastle got relegated, I ended my subscription to Setanta, so I don't care whether they live or die.

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  • 108. At 11:41am on 24 Jun 2009, Stuart Pearce Badger wrote:

    Well, ref the Newcastle comment, a post like that might help to explain to the poster why many people were so happy when Newcastle were relegated.

    Still, that new away strip should help to scare off the opposition.

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  • 109. At 11:43am on 24 Jun 2009, ightenclaret wrote:

    I think it's disgraceful that the BBC can afford every web-based gimmick tecnology has to offer, hours and hours of banal soaps, but can't offer us any live football on TV. What on earth is going on Mr Bose? There are plenty of 'commentators' and 'pundits' and 'sport editors' but no actual football (the country's primary sport) on the country's national service broadcaster network. THAT is the true disgrace.

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  • 110. At 12:03pm on 24 Jun 2009, oufcad22 wrote:

    Hi im an oxford united fan, now as we're in the bsp how will people get to see the games?
    Sultana messed us about by shoving the teams to play thursdays, fridays, saturday evenings, sundays, now i know it doesn't sound that bad, but travelling to barrow on a friday night, when it was on a saturday didnt help our fan base

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  • 111. At 12:14pm on 24 Jun 2009, politeDJDave wrote:

    Post 104 - well said!

    footnote to setanta - there coverage of the Blue Square Premier was excellent as has been commented on in various posts above - going inide the dressing rooms and interviewing managers during play were both very innovative and enjoyable features of the coverage which will hopefully be reporduced by someone again...possibly BBCi?? Come on Mr Bose, have a word son!

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  • 112. At 12:15pm on 24 Jun 2009, TorroTorres wrote:

    Seriously, why don't the BBC get off their backsides and get in there and bid for some live Premier League games instead of paying millions of pounds to overrated buffoons like Jonathan Ross.

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  • 113. At 12:16pm on 24 Jun 2009, skywalker1 wrote:

    Rather than bang on about unfair competition rules that let Setanta in, in the first place, what is best for the consumer should be considered more otherwise it will end in tears as we have seen.

    Rather than the public having to pay both Sky and Setanta (or now any other bidder that will charge for subscription) for viewing of all major sporting events, give all the rights to sky or the terrestrial channels.

    In my opinion the BBC and ITV are partly to blame for not being competitive enough - they could have got the other two Prem packages that Setanta got and a hell of a lot more people would have watched the games.

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  • 114. At 12:21pm on 24 Jun 2009, TorroTorres wrote:

    Posts 104 & 109 hit the nail on the head.

    COME ON BBC!!!!!!!!

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  • 115. At 12:22pm on 24 Jun 2009, GenesisRed wrote:

    We all know the FA are greedy. They don't care where the money comes from, just as long as they get the most they can. They should foot the bill with the football clubs that again have budgeted with this income in mind.

    I say again, because it wasn't that long ago that ITV Digital went belly up and caused a massive knock-on effect to all those clubs. Cunningly they managed to cut the digital branch loose so the core ITV company didn't go to the wall too or have to foot the bill. Again, the company folds and shafts the clubs.

    The FA need to look at themselves and sort this out next time, and do what they can to limit the damage on the clubs that they represent.

    But who really thinks they'll ever change.

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  • 116. At 12:32pm on 24 Jun 2009, pyattl01 wrote:

    What would happen if we all stop subscribing to sky sports??

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  • 117. At 12:35pm on 24 Jun 2009, UnitedCalypso wrote:

    The problem here has been developing over the last few years. Football in general, and the English Premier League in particular, are in the process of killing the goose that laid the golden egg. The long suffering footie fan has been faced with prices going up and up year after year. I used to be a Season Ticket holder at a top English club for many years, but after annual price hikes year after year of WELL above inflation I became something I had always detested - an Armchair Fan! There are signs ( at last! ) that many Clubs have realised this and are actually cutting the prices to maintain numbers attending matches. Too little too late as far as I'm concerned. The same is now happening to TV footie. At the moment I have Sky but if the prices go up again, I can see Sky Sports being dropped. I have no intention of paying for any more suppliers of footie ( I tried Sentanta for 3 months when it started, but then dropped it ) The majority of the money going into the game is NOT benefitting the game itself, but going to the 'franchise-holders' who then leave their debts on the football club. The bubble is about to burst.

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  • 118. At 12:44pm on 24 Jun 2009, Ydiss wrote:

    It riles me how we, the English, cannot watch whatever game we choose of our own national league on TV when many countries around the world show just about every single game (even the 3pm kickoffs which are, for some bizarre reason, the holy grail in this country, never to be watched by anyone but those at the match and the media). Every single match is fully televised and beamed across the globe, yet we're restricted to MOTD highlights or paying subs for a channel barely watched, unless you love all sports and not just football. Even paying that subscription allows you only to watch a few of your favourite team's matches.

    Thanks to the internet, this isn't a problem any longer. I'd gladly pay a subscription for a sports channel if I could watch my favourite team in every game, not just the odd one every few weeks. Until such a model is available, I'll stick to my current method and I imagine that won't help the likes of Setanta whatsoever.

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  • 119. At 12:55pm on 24 Jun 2009, 6foot8cdngooner wrote:

    Regarding #70 Comment. If Setanta Sports Canada can survive without Setanta UK, it should not effect access to EPL games. As I understand it, the Canadian rights to the EPL are owned by THE SCORE and sold out to other broadcasters like Sportsnet and Setanta Sports Canada. I believe Setanta Sports Canada bought the rights to show football league games from SKY, so that could continue as well. The demise of Setanta UK, however, will mean that original programming produced in the UK will be lost to us, with the likelihood of replacemnt on other networks being very low. I am a big Hibernian fan. If ESPN UK buys the rights to telecast SPL games, it is not likely they will be sold on to Setanta in Canada as it is a direct competitor to TSN which is an ESPN company. The market for the SPL is too small in Canada for TSN to broadcast the games. This means Canadian fans of the SPL are truly screwed by the demise of Setanta UK. It sounds like Setanta UK was rife with customer relations issues. That said, its loss does have spill over effects for fans not only in the UK but around the world. The EPL's greed will lead to negative consequences for many teams, businesses, and fans.

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  • 120. At 1:10pm on 24 Jun 2009, United Dreamer wrote:

    Good riddance. Their strategy seemed to be to get half of United's games and the rest stocking fillers. As a SKY subscriber who couldn't countenance paying the extra it meant I missed a number of United matches and not even able to see them in the evening (OK I know I should get a season ticket). As far as I am concerned they can whistle.

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  • 121. At 1:14pm on 24 Jun 2009, bigroy00 wrote:

    Splitting off some games to Setanta was the FA's idea of a good deal for consumers, i.e. more competition - BULL !
    In reality it just hiked up the price for consumers by charging a new amount for a slice of the pie
    In order to have real competition the FA and the Premiership need to stop granting exclusivity for matches. Why cant we have the same match broadcast by Sky and ITV and BBC and whoever?
    The consumer can then choose based on picture quality, standard of comentary, full coverage vs highlights etc.
    That would be real competition for customers.

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  • 122. At 1:24pm on 24 Jun 2009, skywalker1 wrote:

    bigroy, spot on mate. not gonna happen though.

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  • 123. At 1:33pm on 24 Jun 2009, hudjer wrote:

    The standard on offer was very poor for the money (SPL and Conference), when you consider the UEFA cup and Champions League are both free to view.

    Falkirk v Inverness would have limited appeal on free to view, at £11 a month it had no appeal.

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  • 124. At 1:35pm on 24 Jun 2009, scarolinared wrote:

    Setanta US web site states:

    "Setantas services in the US will continue to trade normally.

    Also, it has been widely reported in various media channels, Setanta Sports has had its agreement to broadcast 46 Barclays Premier League matches in the UK terminated.

    This development does not affect our channels and other services in the US.

    Setanta Sports in the US is a separate operation that has separate agreement to show the Barclays Premier League. 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."

    So it sounds as if we continue to get their coverage of Premier League & internationals(?), but no mention of SPL. And to previous posters complaining about the "holy Grail" of the Saturday 3pm game in England - we get 2 live every Saturday on Fox and Setanta, plus at least 2 on tape delay - long may it continue on this side of the Atlantic. Presumably we lose any original Setanta programming that supported their UK operation. But the game is the important thing although I did enjoy Special One TV.

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  • 125. At 1:38pm on 24 Jun 2009, minty83 wrote:

    Re: #80 you're right about the Asia thing. ESPN Star Sports the name and it is the rights seller for the IPL and ICC tournaments, so we might get cricket on the new channel.

    Also ESPN press releases state that they will show more than just football, so it would be a good fit like rugby would due to the amount they show around the rest of the world.

    Re: #62 I thought that the Guinness Premiership rugby didn't start until the season after next? Also the coverage was going to be shared with Sky.

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  • 126. At 1:51pm on 24 Jun 2009, yellowAmberArmy wrote:

    do you not consider the implications on the blue square premier worth a mention? you fail to even mention the implications of clubs now going bust at that level due to the collapse of setanta.

    i find that extremely poor on your part. cleary the impact on the f/a will be less than a small club that is dependant on that source of income.

    you have completely missed this point. very disapointing

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  • 127. At 2:19pm on 24 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    "If Sky was bad at what it does (which it is not) then why does the European court feel the need to say that it is anti-competitive?"
    Others are open to bid so from the point of view of selling Media Rights a competitive market does exist. The issue of splitting up the sales seemed to come from the EU commission. They felt that some football should be available on all platforms, including FTV. They though that if the big bidder could be restricted on the number of packages they could buy then the rest could only be bought by those with much less money, i.e the BBC or ITV. They never counted on Setanta buying the packages SKY could not!
    A similer situation arose with Horse Racing. The Jockey Club was forcing
    channels to out bid each other offering money they couldn't afford. So the channels got together and created Racing UK, a single body who offered a single affordable bid. Racing UK then split the racing amongst it's members according to how much they put in. Anti-competetive it may be, but the only sensible solution in the end.

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  • 128. At 2:26pm on 24 Jun 2009, fourfootedchallenge wrote:

    When will be done with just having traditional 6 out 10 game slots, with 5 going to Sky and 1 going to a token competitor? Surely in this day in age we should be offering a pay per view service, with all matches (including lower league) available to buy. Having the matches staged over the weekend as they have them should be ran side by side with this, as a cheaper "season ticket" subscription could run and then you get to watch 5/6 Premier League games a weekend (if you really wanted to). Matches could be sold (as the Champions League games currently done on the internet for £2) for between £2 to £5 per game for house hold viewing, and slight more for public viewing, which could go some way to reducing the foreign satellite usage that is rife at the moment, either via the internet or from a channel on Sky/Freesat/Virgin Media.

    Surely a method like this is the future of football on television... And surely the Premier League and Sky (et al) would hoping to switch to this sooner rather than latter when too many people get in their ways of watching it online for free. The music industry was to slow to act over the internet, now with faster and faster broadband I fear the sport industry will go the same way.

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  • 129. At 2:38pm on 24 Jun 2009, ChocolateBoxKid wrote:

    Mihir, please could you take a look at the Southampton points deduction story. From the viewpoint of Saints fans, it looks very much like the football league is using bullyboy tactics to pressure the club's prospective new owners into signing a waiver they won't try to appeal a decision, that they are allowed to appeal within the FL & FA rules.

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  • 130. At 3:02pm on 24 Jun 2009, Rabster wrote:

    Why can't you "name and shame" the rogues who ran Setanta in the same way our MP's have been? Football clubs will suffer but individual directors will waltz away untouched by fines or prison terms.

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  • 131. At 3:04pm on 24 Jun 2009, wanz89 wrote:

    how bout the bbc finally puts the money generated from the tv licence to good use and acquires some live football

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  • 132. At 3:08pm on 24 Jun 2009, shoogledoogle wrote:

    Re: previous comments

    I don't believe it's the BBC's job, as a public broadcaster, to show live sporting events, given the immense cost and limited audience. I would, however, welcome an SPL highlights package to be broadcast across the U.K., after all, the EPL's MOTD is shown up here, too. And conferring an economic advantage on one part of the U.K. is against the terms of your charter, right?

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  • 133. At 3:17pm on 24 Jun 2009, Keeko67 wrote:

    I went to my bank this morning to cancel my monthly subscription to Setanta, which was due to be collected next week.
    Setanta had collected it on Monday past! How many others are there, like me, who have fallen foul of the possible non-recoverable debt scam that Setanta have possibly fraudelently carried out by taking subscriptions early?

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  • 134. At 4:00pm on 24 Jun 2009, excellentcatblogger wrote:

    126. At 1:51pm on 24 Jun 2009, yellowAmberArmy wrote:
    do you not consider the implications on the blue square premier worth a mention? you fail to even mention the implications of clubs now going bust at that level due to the collapse of setanta.

    i find that extremely poor on your part. cleary the impact on the fa will be less than a small club that is dependant on that source of income.

    you have completely missed this point. very disapointing

    Yes I agree completely with you. Mr Bose and virtually everyone else harps on about the premiership but ignore the effect on non league football. The amounts of money that Setanta was putting aside are small compared to the Premiership but are the difference between survival and extinction for non league clubs.

    As land is at a premium in our small island, these football clubs will be financially better off throwing in the towel and selling their stadia for housing. Then where will the next generation of wayne Rooney's come from? As usual a very blinkered approach from the sports authorities in the UK.

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  • 135. At 4:03pm on 24 Jun 2009, Gladius157 wrote:

    Got to concur with a lot of the dim views of Setanta's customer care, on here. Absolutely atrocious. If you want to instill some customer loyalty and create a decent brand, you've got to keep your current punters on side... and my experience of Setanta, being with them over a year, was that just couldn't care less.

    My sympathies for those made redundant, but it was no shock. I'd already cancelled my subscription a while back.

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  • 136. At 4:17pm on 24 Jun 2009, neontoploader2007 wrote:

    I ordered Setanta for one game and have spent considerable time on the phone with them to cancel the "leave whenever you like" contract, only to keep me on the phone for 25 mins then to end the call advising they need information I already told them was not available. Even in the last few days their "loyalty team" have been texting me trying to convince me to cough up more money for the SPL and EPL action due to start in the next few weeks.
    Good riddance to Setanta!

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  • 137. At 4:26pm on 24 Jun 2009, barters wrote:

    Re 133: My Setanta direct debit goes out on the 26th and I cancelled it yesterday - it was not collected early.

    If your cash has been taken before the agreed date then, while it may only be a small amount, I suspect that taking an cash early from someone's account is actually illegal and therefore should be reported to the Banking authorities.

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  • 138. At 5:40pm on 24 Jun 2009, Paisley_saint_doug wrote:

    Hey Mihir, 4 sentences devoted to Setanta and its impact on the SPL. Watch you don't stretch yourself too much with all that effort!

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  • 139. At 5:56pm on 24 Jun 2009, Barrymore wrote:

    Setanta Canada should still be around, rebroadcasting Sky's coverage of Saturday premier league games.

    The only two problems I've had with Setanta Canada are the lack of decent coverage outside of the top flight - outside of the playoffs they prefer repeats to new lower league events, and the awful music they play when they have insufficient commercials to fit a break.

    In the UK coverage of football should never have reached such a stupid situation where yet again a rights holder collapses.

    It should have been treat in the same way that the IBA used to treat ITV regional licences (pre 1989): not too much power with any one company and highest bidder does not necessarily win.

    That way the beeb, itv and smaller operations like Setanta could have had a realistic stab at covering the top flight alongside Sky without having to risk overbidding.

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  • 140. At 6:28pm on 24 Jun 2009, Liam233 wrote:

    Setanta had many problems which have ultimately led to this sitution.

    Firstly, very few people want to pay £10 per month for a few Premier League matches when they can watch more than enough on Sky already, for which they pay a large monthly sum in the first place.
    Secondly, Setanta's dealings with customers was nothing short of awful. They did all they could to reel customers in and when these customers wanted to opt out they did everything in their power to prevent them from doing so, including taking money from customers who no longer wanted the service.
    Lastly, the coverage that Setanta did provide was dull, uninteresting and most people were not fans of it. It was even worse than ITV's coverage (which is a hard act to beat), and light-years behind the coverage from BBC or Sky.
    Overall, the whole situation could have been avoided if the Premier League had learnt from the Sky Digital fiasco a few years back. Setanta was essentially a failure before it started and frankly good riddance to it.

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  • 141. At 7:01pm on 24 Jun 2009, radiohead wrote:

    To #118 YdissDC. The reason 3pm Saturday games are not shown live in the UK is to protect all the other clubs that do kick off at 3pm on a Saturday. Your idea might be great for Premier League clubs and their armchair fans, but it would finish off most clubs from the Championship down to teams playing at the bottom of the non league pyramid.

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  • 142. At 7:02pm on 24 Jun 2009, seventeenth wrote:

    What a wonderful forum this has turned out to be. Mihir must be congratulated for such an in-depth blog; and for leaving enough gaps for so many to exploit. May we now expect a further blog to summarize the true rammifications of the departure of Setanta? Purely on a personal note, I would welcome knowledge of what may be the resolution in Canada and the States.

    I must also apologize for my earlier contribution in that I wrote as an 'overall' soccer fan; not purely related to the EPL. In Vancouver I can watch two EPL games and at least two each from Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Argentina and the MSL per week. That is more than enough for me to manage, without buying the Setanta package. I did, however, fail to consider the wonderful access that they provided to the best rugby in the world and to those who support particular teams in Britain. As this is something rarely available here, the monthly fee $15 may seem relatively insignificant for those wishing to see such action.

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  • 143. At 7:10pm on 24 Jun 2009, footymums wrote:

    Sad that any broadcaster of sport goes to the wall. Grassroots football (particularly at junior/youth level) needs all the financial help it can get, particularly in regard to supporting things like the Respect campaign. Financial resources disappering from the game won't make things any easier.

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  • 144. At 7:57pm on 24 Jun 2009, RussellHadd wrote:

    I'd just like to add to the growing evidence on this board that Setanta didn't meet their subscription targets because of their appallingly shoddy customer service.

    I like to watch the odd game of football and rugby but not enough to pay for Sky. Setanta was made for me - that is until the summer came. If only they had let me (and I suspect thousands more) take a break. They'd have then had my custom again in September for a whole 9 months. Well, they didn't and now they never will.

    Can I also add to the call for the BBC to take a look at the Conference? It's real football, played by real people in real communities. Setanta were hardly broken by the money they were paying out for this contract, so I'm sure the license fee will stretch to AFC Wimbledon v Luton!

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  • 145. At 9:50pm on 24 Jun 2009, Attila The Cat wrote:

    I rather suspect that the real fallout from the Setanta collapse as it affects club football will you were, chaps. There may be a bit less money in the pot, but wherever it comes from the big money will go to the big clubs as it always has done, and the small clubs will struggle as they always have done. EPL and the FA will always be at each others' throats because they both have entirely self-serving agendas which don't allow any sort of meeting of minds. The mad football money-go-round will continue as it always has done, and it has done very little to produce world class English footballers. Just like the FA, come to think of it, and I'll believe otherwise when England are good enough to win a European Championship or, heaven help us, a World Cup. The way forward? Maybe the whole sorry mess of football governance & broadcasting needs chucking in the bin and starting again. Perhaps a single governing body which is capable of combining and caring for both the business and sporting interests of club football might be a start. Clubs being allowed to market and distribute their own games in any way they can might be another option. And certainly the BBC's role in football broadcasting needs a close, hard look. Considering the real issues in football, Setanta are an irrelevant sideshow. Oh, and if you think it's bad now, just wait for the European League...

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  • 146. At 10:19pm on 24 Jun 2009, LivingInCanada78 wrote:

    I, like some previous posters living in Canada have mentioned, started to pay a monthly subscription of $15 for the privilege of viewing Setanta Canada programming at the start of the 2008-9 EPL season. I thought 15 bucks a month was good value for money, considering that I could watch most EPL games every week and there seemed to be pretty good coverage of many other games too. All in all, I was satisfied, particularly as I support Middlesbrough, which seems to be an unfashionable team, and never got as much coverage with Rogers Sportsnet in previous seasons.
    I never had any issues with disengaging from the subscription at the end of the season. It was completed courteously by my local cable company in seconds.
    I did have one particular gripe with Setanta, though. I hated their policy of onscreen goal update flashes in addition to the pitchside commentators and those self important ex-players in the studio continually giving updates of the latest scores of other matches that were not being televised. Don't they realise how knowing the result of a game before being able to view it, completely ruins the experience when you eventually get round to viewing it?
    I don't know what it's like in the U.K. now, but when I was living there(think David Coleman), there seemed to be an unwritten rule not to mention scores of other games.
    As a result, unless Boro were on first, and it only happened if they were playing one of the Big Four, I sometimes had to record the programs and wait a day or two before I could watch my own team. In the meantime, I had to stay off the Internet and not discuss football with anyone. Very annoying!

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  • 147. At 10:36pm on 24 Jun 2009, Keeko67 wrote:

    Re: #137.
    Thank you for your comment.
    I put the legality point to my bank this morning, but they said as long as Setanta were trading, there was no limit up front as to how far in advance they could take the next payment.
    I wonder.....

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  • 148. At 11:04pm on 24 Jun 2009, Arctic wrote:

    In the US it made more sense to buy a cable sports package at $9.95 a month and watch the same games Sky Sports shows, including Sky Sports News, rather than pay $25 a game on PPV. A few of the better games were only shown on PPV, but most of them were on the Fox Soccer Network, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. On FSN we see the exact same games you do in England, as they take their feeds directly from the Sky Sports channels.

    The real money for Sentanta in the US came from the Euro finals and World Cup qualifiers. Those of us who have moved to the US have got used to paying to watch England play, but we very rarely do so. Not many people are willing to pay $25 to watch an England World Cup qualifier on TV.

    The World Cup finals are different, as ESPN always picks up those games, just as it does with the Champion's League.

    So really there isn't much of a market here for PPV football, especially when the cable channels already included in our subscriptions air the better games a few days later. Gambling $25 to watch England live isn't much of temptation unless they actually make it to a semi final.

    I do feel sorry for Scottish football, but not the Football League. They should have learned their lesson from the way ITV managed to obfuscate their way out of paying them.

    PS A hint for the BBC. BBC America needs Match of the Day - even if the show was delayed a few weeks to avoid friction with other rights holders. Repeats from the previous season would be equally appreciated if the current season's games are not allowed and lots of ex-pat and US subscribers would be made extremely happy!

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  • 149. At 11:14pm on 24 Jun 2009, grahamterrace wrote:

    You go into some detail about what might happen to the various wealthy sports organisations in the Setanta fall out - but what happens to those of us ordinary viewers who have (foolishly?) taken out annual subscriptions? Will we get an alternative service, or our money back?

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  • 150. At 11:17pm on 24 Jun 2009, JIMMYBANTAM365 wrote:

    #109 & #131 - Sorry, have I missed something? What about the 13 Championship and Carling Cup matches they are showing live from the coming season? Live league football on the Beeb for the first time in 20 odd years from one of the most competitive leagues in Europe sounds quite good actually. OK, not the Premier League but they are never going to want live PL games when they have MOTD.

    I would love the BBC to take on some or all of Setanta's FA Cup and England matched but sadly, I fear that the rather frosty relationship they have with the FA following the original awarding of the rights to ITV & Setanta despite the good job the BBC did with the Cup, may just mean they stay clear of them. If anything, they'll probably just end up with Golden League athletics.

    This IS ITV Digital all over again and I fear for the Conference clubs and the smaller SPL sides who've budgeted for money they will not now receive. My club Bradford City knowing all too well how bad things could get.

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  • 151. At 00:58am on 25 Jun 2009, Harry_Potts wrote:

    I'd quite happily revert back to the days of everyone kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday. Sky could then show the games in full via the red button on a match choice basis from, say, 6pm and also have an in depth Match of The Day and Goals on Sunday, certain games on police advise kicking off early could be televised live. I'm old fashioned I know, but it was sure as hell a lot easier back in the 70's and 80's

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  • 152. At 05:22am on 25 Jun 2009, Eddie Patton wrote:

    Only had Setanta since March this year and it costs me AUS$6.90 a month which is about 2 pound fifty pence. It is an absolute bargain. FA Cup, SPL, Magners League, Gaelic football and Hurling, and Irish Internationals. Not to mention Special 1 TV. I'm with Austar, not Foxtel and can cancel anytime I want. At least thats what they say.Anybody complaining about the price of anything has a choice....... DON"T SIGN UP! I hope the coverage continues in Australia and may the Irish Setanta live long and prosper.

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  • 153. At 06:29am on 25 Jun 2009, Macopotamus wrote:

    @arcticandy: ESPN lost the Champions League, it's going to be on FSC in future. The World Cup is being shared between ESPN and ABC. ESPN just bought La Liga broadcast rights too.

    I live in a part of the US where there's no carriage of Setanta on cable and I can't have a dish, so I'd been hoping that Setanta here would be bought out. ESPN360 used to be good for things like rugby league and the Championship, while other sports with no US coverage were able to stream directly here, which doesn't happen now as it would upset Setanta.

    The few times I saw Setanta in the UK it seemed like ITV in 80's and really low quality. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised by ESPN. There Euro 2008 coverage was especially good with British/Irish commentators and Andy Gray as a studio guest.

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  • 154. At 08:41am on 25 Jun 2009, mikencs wrote:

    Do you remember Setantas initial TV adverts £9.99 per month and no contract. It seemed good until you looked further at the charges. There was a joining fee of £12 and the earliest you could cancel it involved a second months payment. This put me off sharp practise I call it. How many others thought the same way?

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  • 155. At 08:55am on 25 Jun 2009, barters wrote:

    RE: 133 and 147

    Looks like you should be covered to get your money back under the Direct Debit Guarantee

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  • 156. At 09:51am on 25 Jun 2009, Kranjcar's swagger wrote:

    # 40. At 10:00pm on 23 Jun 2009, smurfsdabomb wrote:

    Setanta is the best sports broadcaster around. It's a loss to all sports fans. =(

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    Are you mad?????? I hope you are being sarcastic! Setanta's coverage was awful! There news channel which tried and failed to be better than Sky Sports news really summed it up for me.

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  • 157. At 10:05am on 25 Jun 2009, DoverAthleticLad wrote:

    Another plus is that ESPN America is now free to view through Sky. For those who miss Channel 5's baseball coverage and weren't prepared to pay ESPN or MLB through the internet, this is a huge bonus.

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  • 158. At 10:42am on 25 Jun 2009, dotty4spurs wrote:

    As some of the above have commented, I am also NOT sorry to see setanta go the way of the world. I was blooming annoyed to have to pay to see MY national team play in away matches, and I agree with another point about their customer service being dreadful, I, myself, refused to subscribe, but I know of others who have lost a great deal of money trying to get their subs cancelled. Also I agree that the FA were being greedy when they sold the rights to England Qualifiers, all our matches should be free to watch by all.

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  • 159. At 11:02am on 25 Jun 2009, claretblue74 wrote:

    They won't be missed. Repeating many opinions already expressed. I took up their offer of £5 a month for 3 months as my Mrs is an LFC fan and thought she might like LFCTV. Wasn't up to much, unless you're such a die-hard fan you like watching repeats of fairly non-eventful Division 1 clashes from yesteryear that had little to no real effect on that years title or you want to know what colour pants The Chuckle Brothers used to wear (Aldridge & Rush. They said i had to cancel in writing giving a minimum of 30 days notice, just cancelled the DD. If they had invested money better than sending pointless threatening letters it may have helped. The BBC should deffo apply for some rights. I agree that Blue Square Premier on BBC3 is a cracking idea. I don't really follow that league myself but the BBC is for everyone, not just English Premier League fans.

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  • 160. At 11:14am on 25 Jun 2009, My Lonely Prison Wall wrote:

    I will be sad to miss out on the GAA coverage shown during the summer months.

    However there football coverage was poor when compared to Sky, however what else could you expect. Whilst the theory of having a competitor to Sky may have sounded god the reality was this venture was always doomed to end in failure at some point, especially given how much they paid for the packages they got.

    In all that I have read since the demise of Setanta I have not head how the early subscribers who paid an annual subscription will fair??

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  • 161. At 12:11pm on 25 Jun 2009, 6foot8cdngooner wrote:

    Having spent the better part of two days reading posts, it seems that UK football TV viewers are generally getting screwed over because of the way your rights holders dole out the games to you.If I read it correctly you only get a couple of live games every weekend, at SKY's choosing.

    I live in Canada and subscribe to a digital cable service. Fot about $30 per month, I have access to a sports package that gives me US College basketball & football, NFL football, NBA basketball, Major League baseball, NASCAR & NFL football.

    On any given day I can watch whatever game live game that is being broadcast. I am a Steelers fan. I can choose to watch a Steelers game, if it is not broadcast on my local Canadian or USA stations. Same thing with any other sport. Last night I had the choice to watch live any baseball game I wanted.I watched abit of the Boston red Sox game from Washington DC

    If this sort os sports package was available in the UK, the Burnley fan living in Southhampton could watch every Burnley game live, even if the the choosen live game for his hometown was something different. I do not understand why the sports fans in your countries do not create the demand for such a product. It is an absolute essential for the die hard sports fan in North America.

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  • 162. At 12:37pm on 25 Jun 2009, adam_ice9 wrote:

    After forking out £40 for SKY I refused to pay £15 month subscription as well as a £10 joining fee just to watch a few extra matches. At least when SKY had its 'season ticket' scheme you could still choose to buy individual matches. I also hope UFC now goes back to Bravo!

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  • 163. At 12:57pm on 25 Jun 2009, skywalker1 wrote:

    150. At 11:17pm on 24 Jun 2009, JIMMYBANTAM365 wrote:

    ''#109 & #131 - Sorry, have I missed something? What about the 13 Championship and Carling Cup matches they are showing live from the coming season? Live league football on the Beeb for the first time in 20 odd years from one of the most competitive leagues in Europe sounds quite good actually. OK, not the Premier League but they are never going to want live PL games when they have MOTD.''

    This is quite sad - is this all we expect form the BBC nowadays - live football from second and third tier competitions?

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  • 164. At 1:08pm on 25 Jun 2009, Rickyp wrote:

    As much as I hate Sky and their awfull Andy Gray, at least when they had all the premiership games it meant that football fans only had to subscribe to one broadcaster.
    Thanks to the EU it was split, forcing subscription to two broadcasters and when that didn't work out (which even an idiot could see was going to happen) then those games are handed to another seperate company, ESPN-GREAT!
    Slowly football is being priced out of all normal fans budget.

    Anyone know what will happen to the England games?

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  • 165. At 1:27pm on 25 Jun 2009, Fitlubo wrote:

    I for one am gutted at Setanta's demise. Agreed with the majority of posts that it was a poor man's Sky but it offered IMO an attractive package for a reasonable price compared to Sky.

    I'm from Scotland and it is the first time i can remember (i'm 30) that we have had a full package of SPL fixtures to look forward to throughout the season. Granted their are some awful teams in the SPL but having the option to watch Celtic V Hearts on a Sunday afternoon on Setanta compared to the early live game of Stoke V Hull City on Sky was a no-brainer!!

    The only real losers in this i think will be the SPL and the Blue Square premier as all the other sports in the package will be snapped up by other TV bodies. I think we will have to wait until a Monday night to watch highlights of the weekends action of the SPL (an absolute joke of a programme currently on BBC) which is an absolute disgrace!!!

    If Sky buy up the rights for all the sports from Setanta then i would imagine everybody's subscription charge will also increase to cover this??

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  • 166. At 1:37pm on 25 Jun 2009, dessie1980 wrote:

    I am surprised by all the comments left on here about Setanta. I fully accept that their football coverage is awful, steve McManaman/Claridge are two of the worst analysts there have ever been and they draw it out for too long but then the alternative is ESPN who as far as I know do not even have any analysts, the show is over immediately after the game, so at least with setanta you can just watch the goals again and change channel.

    But soccer(get used to it) aside, their coverage of other sports while again being somewhat amateurish is better than no coverage and the sports I am talking about are Boxing(so you sky lovers dont think £15 to watch Amir Khan, the most over-rated boxer in history is a good value)with a high quality world title fight on every couple of weeks for FREE! and buncy is a legend continuously bringing exclusive interviews in the build up to fights some of which are on Sky(for £15!!!), UFC, PGA tour Golf (with american commentry and pretty good analysis from Ronan Rafferty)and my favourite of all Celtic League Rugby which lets face it is a much more competitive offering than that over hyped Premiership rugby fluff from England.

    All there ever seems to be on Sky now is cricket, cricket, cricket and the way they build up that bore fest of a hammering match the ashes is the perfect example of how rubbish Sky can be. How Ian Botham suggests it is the best television ever is beyond me, even the people in the stands are sleeping but then this is what sky is good at, over hyping alot of old rubbish.

    I mean I am a huge rugby fan but their analysis of the Lions is astounding, to say they should have or even deseved to win that first test shows how little they know about the sport and are just trying to sell the next game to the dopey punters who subscribe at least the setanta boys are realistic! call a spade a spade and... Ian McGeechanYOUR A SPADE!

    My biggest gripe of all is that as a Virgin media subscriber(they are awful)I get Setanta for free and lets face it that is value especially when you have to put up with a STB which freezes constantly and never remembers the channels. Sentanta just tried to do too much to quick and I will be sorry to see it go especially if it is to be replaced by ESPN, I lived in the USA for years and their coverage is poor, and that is putting it mildly.

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  • 167. At 2:13pm on 25 Jun 2009, ppppenguin wrote:

    Setanta Sports Canada Statement:

    Important Customer Message

    It has been announced today by the Board of Setanta Sport Holdings Limited that it has not proved possible to secure the additional financing required to ensure the future viability of certain Setanta businesses in Great Britain. As a consequence, the Board has taken the decision to seek the appointment of Receivers to the parent company, Setanta Sport Holdings Limited, and certain subsidiaries in Ireland, and Administrators to certain English subsidiaries.

    Setanta International is not covered by these appointments.
    Setantas services in Canada will continue to trade normally.

    Also, it has been widely reported in various media channels, Setanta Sports has had its agreement to broadcast 46 Barclays Premier League matches in the UK terminated.

    This development does not affect our channels and other services in Canada.

    Setanta Sports Canada is a separate operation that has separate agreement to show the Barclays Premier League. Our channel and other services in Canada continue to broadcast and our subscribers can still enjoy our programming including the Lions Tour of South Africa.

    New customers are welcome to subscribe to watch some of the worlds best soccer and rugby either by contacting our cable and satellite partners or online at

    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

    Yay long may it continue, as a Brit now based in Montreal having access to watch every Premier League Game, FA Cup, MUTV, the Special One etc is well worth the additional monthly charge on my Satellite TV Bill and as this is all handled by Bell the customer service is impeccable.

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  • 168. At 2:25pm on 25 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • 169. At 2:35pm on 25 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • 170. At 3:40pm on 25 Jun 2009, blackpooler wrote:

    Setanta was good for us ex pats in Canada, expensive but lots of footy.
    Live world cup qualifying though was all countries who were not expected to make it, we only got the good games a couple of days later pre-recorded and we already knew the scores.I just hope that whoever buys the games will not forget about us in countries other than the UK.

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  • 171. At 4:07pm on 25 Jun 2009, ilokid wrote:

    I live in Canada, and had no problem paying $15 per month for Setanta, mostly for EPL and Rugby. Concerns were around the quality of the commentators (too often unintelligible for English-speaking viewers), and the fact that despite England's internationals reportedly being available on Setanta UK, we were required to pay $25 per game to our dish or cable provider.
    I am not sure as to what will happen going forward, since it seems that Setanta International may not have been impacted to the same degree. The prospect of ESPN picking up the threads is none too inviting, given the quality of some of its 'knowledgeable' commentators (Tommy Smith????), but as a last resort, appropriate use of the 'Mute' button could be a definite consideration.

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  • 172. At 4:13pm on 25 Jun 2009, bl00dred wrote:

    Setanta, ESPN is all the same - subscribers still have to pay to two broadcasters.
    Maybe even worse with ESPN since you'll only get football for your money.

    If EU are going to continue to push for multiple providers, they should stipulate that at least two football packages are bought by free-to-air broadcasters.

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  • 173. At 5:25pm on 25 Jun 2009, radiohead wrote:

    # 163. wegunnergetya

    This is quite sad - is this all we expect form the BBC nowadays - live football from second and third tier competitions?

    You seem to be one of those armchair fans that think football only exists in the Premier League and as probably never watched football at a lower level. If you are satisfied with the predictable Premier League, same 4 teams in the top four season after season, then the BBC or for that matter Setanta coverage is not for you. I'm sure there are 1000's of Leeds, Norwich, Charlton, Southampton, Burton, AFC Wimbledon fans that will be looking forward to an exciting season of competitive league football next season.

    The Conference was very exciting last season, going down to a last day tussle between Burton & Cambridge for promotion

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  • 174. At 5:37pm on 25 Jun 2009, Emersdad wrote:

    I for one will miss Setanta- as an Irishman in Scotland I'm gutted been a customer long before their failed bid to break into the English Market. Soemone else will pick up the English football package but who is going to cover SPL, Magners league and GAA now?

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  • 175. At 5:41pm on 25 Jun 2009, Danny wrote:

    As a Setanta employee I can say all those people who think it was their own fault and they got what they deserved are a disgrace. At a recent meeting, after going into administration, the founders and shareholders explained the lengths they went to make the channel highly competitive and the millions they invested just to stay afloat. There were tears shed as they apologised to staff for not being able to pull through, especially those with families. It was explained that because of this current economic climate it was almost impossible to find funding.

    There was nothing wrong with the content Setanta produced and there still isn't, simply the recession came at a time when they were trying to gain a foothold in a market where sky are firmly grounded. Give credit where credit is due, England internationals have not been packaged as well as Setanta did in a long time. It has been reported that Sky benefited from the competition and I for one agree. I hope Setanta rebuild and come back stronger, if not then thanks to Richard Scudamore and the EPL for putting a nail in the coffin, at least they got their cheque.

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  • 176. At 5:46pm on 25 Jun 2009, robtheref wrote:

    any news on if there will be a bsp tv contract yet? tbh i dont care about the premier league, bsp is much much better, proper football

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  • 177. At 6:51pm on 25 Jun 2009, JIMMYBANTAM365 wrote:

    Quite right thorper (173), what is sad is that people seem to think that the Premier League is the be all and end all of English football. Good on the BBC for getting the rights to show games from a far more competitive league.

    Wishful thinking as it may be, I'd love to see Bradford on BBC1 in the Championship come 2011/12.

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  • 178. At 7:02pm on 25 Jun 2009, LilywhiteAndy wrote:

    Setanta. Hmm. Whilst it's always nice to see monopolies broken, the sad truth is that if you take on Mr. R. Murdoch & his Sky corporation, you will end up like this.

    On the other hand, Setanta destroyed the atmosphere at my beloved Kettering Town by building a scafold in front of the terrace on one side of the pitch. This meant that the singers amongst the crowd dispersed. They also followed ITV's lead of not showing decent FA cup fixtures, and thought that people would pay to watch England friendlies.

    Business needs brains. Without them, this happens.

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  • 179. At 9:13pm on 25 Jun 2009, Harry_Potts wrote:

    If the BBC got the BSP the Daily Mail would ridicule them saying they were showing pub football, if they don't buy the BSP the Daily Mail will say they are ignoring grass roots football. I love the BSP, it's like football used to be and should be - no sulky foreign players kissing badges!

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  • 180. At 11:35pm on 25 Jun 2009, FrankIsTight wrote:

    What about the other sports? setanta had alot of good boxing, the IPL, and the UFC wheres all that gone? I only had the channel to watch boxing. Does that mean that it will all end up on sky box office? At 15 quid a bout lets hope not.

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  • 181. At 00:41am on 26 Jun 2009, CaliManc wrote:

    People need to realize that those of us who subscribe to Setanta in the US are unaffected. The overseas broadcast (Setanta International) and the UK broadcast are not the same organization. Setanta will continue to broadcast matches to the US. So comparing the ease of canceling your service, etc. is apples and oranges.

    Frankly, $180/year for football is a bit much, but Setanta has all the best matches for international broadcast. FSC would be showing some Pompey match during Chelsea/United.

    I really don't want to see ESPN get involved in broadcasting football to the US. The Champions League and internationals are bad enough. Between Tommy Smyth, the ads, the sports ticker (which occasionally reveals the score of the actual game you're watching on a video delay), the meaningless stat boxes they pop up (Yes, I want to see how much ground Rooney has covered instead of the buildup to a goal), it's horrible. It's not as bad as the MLS coverage, but it's not good.

    So I, for one, am hoping the Setanta International portion of the company continues to exist. I hope they were careful in their separation of the funds so the administrators can't bleed them dry to pay their debt.

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  • 182. At 00:57am on 26 Jun 2009, Attila The Cat wrote:

    This time with the claws out...

    Re: post 175 (particularly) and a few others trying to blame the EPL for Setanta's collapse.

    Setanta did not go into administration because the EPL took their ball home. Setanta went into administration because they owed a lot of money to a lot of people. The EPL were guilty solely of seeing which way the wind was blowing and being smart enough to get out before they got turned over, and for refusing to believe any more of Setanta's empty promises. Given that Setanta had been mucking the EPL about since November, the EPL would have been well within their rights to have bailed out months ago. Sod Setanta, sod its apologists, and sod its crocodile tears, my sympathies are with everybody who have been left struggling and/or out of pocket, particularly those who have had money taken from them for absolutely no service at all (see numerous previous posts). The only disgrace here is a company which couldn't pay its debts, and knew full well it couldn't, while it was still trying to con the more gullible individuals and organisations to keep on funding it.

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  • 183. At 05:04am on 26 Jun 2009, CLAYCROSSBRIT wrote:

    In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, @$14.99CAN per month, what exceptional programming that will be sorely missed, not to mention providing an alternative to 3 of the most boring games in the world, namely the NFL, CFL, and the ugliest game in the world, the National Hockey Leauge. With no ads, except Magners ( which we cannot even buy in Canada), excellent live match coverage, and the best football in the world, Setanta' programming was a breath of fresh air. North American TV sports never ever cover anything outside of the States or Canada, so Setanta filled that gap for us ex Brits. Hopefully the cable TV company in Edmonton will be able to access and provide us with whatever service comes out of the UK. FYi, I called and cancelled Setanta here yesterday and the agent told me that setanta is/was one of their most popular subscription TV products.

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  • 184. At 10:57am on 26 Jun 2009, thurlby2002 wrote:


    Don't you think you should write a proper article examining the cost and the options available to all leagues and sports due to the collapse of Setanta?

    You mention the Premier League, but we all knew they would have no problem in reselling their rights, neither should the FA, the SPL maybe more tricky plus you briefly mention the IPL and PGA golf also but as you say Setanta's collapse won't affect these two too much.

    What about the effect on non-league football? Setanta gets criticised in many quarters for its broadcasting quality and the fact that Blue Square Premier fixtures are rearranged but it is a real joy to watch proper football plus Setanta interviewed managers throughout the matches as well as getting betting updates from Blue Square. It is a far better all-round viewing experience than watching a match where generally two old men (commentators) try to be funny when they clearly are not.

    Also what about the effect on boxing? David Haye for one has a contract with Setanta and he is arguably Britain's top fighter. In addition there is Magners League rugby and NRL.

    Setanta had a good mixture of sports and one could argue that for value for money it is far superior to Sky's offering. As a result it looks like us as viewers will lose out as no Setanta means no competition which means same old Sky. Setanta had Sky worried at one point but unfortunately they were spending beyond their means.

    As the BBC's sports editor please can you do a proper article talking about the full effects on all sports due to Setanta's collapse rather than just focussing mainly on three parts of Setanta's offering.

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  • 185. At 9:17pm on 26 Jun 2009, Derek wrote:

    Like many other exiles I have been "getting" my soccer coverage from both FSC and Setanta.Now that ESPN have obtained Setanta's allocation I fear for the quality from that source.Sentanta had it's faults as has FSC (too much talk) but ESPN can be driven by commercial concerns ONLY.I trust my fears will not be justified.

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  • 186. At 9:30pm on 26 Jun 2009, Oneness wrote:

    This mess is the fault of the European Commission dictating to whom the Premier League can sell it's product to. Surely in a free society a business has the right to sell it's product to whomsoever it chooses.
    Their ruling was supposed to have been on the grounds of increasing competition and making it "better" for the consumer.

    Well before their ruling I was able to get plenty of live games on Sky, who's productions are excellent and a choice of pay-per-view games which I took up an several occasions.

    After their ruling I wasn't able to see the extra games unless I forked out extra for a Sentanta subscription which i was never going to do. Plus did Sky reduce their subscription rates? Of course not - so how is all this better for the consumer?

    Let the free market and consumer decide and stop trying to create a false market with unnecessary political and bureaucratic control. Your not clever enough, EU, it doesn't work.

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  • 187. At 11:27pm on 26 Jun 2009, alastairb25 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 188. At 00:32am on 27 Jun 2009, MulvanyStrasse wrote:

    Setanta in the US is great, better than the fox soccer channel. Football, rugby, gaelic football, aussie rules. Only wish they showed the Bundesliga as well.

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  • 189. At 10:53am on 27 Jun 2009, Borospike wrote:

    Mihir, I'm afraid you've fallen prey to the corporate world of the big TV companies and the Premier League. Your article about what effects the Setanta collapse will have has no mention of ... the customer! The individual who has paid hard-earned money to subscribe in return for enjoying good coverage of his/her favourite sports! You really let yourself down when you refer to "other sports like US golf" and declare glibly that the impact will not be that great in this area. What about those of us who liked watching US golf?!

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  • 190. At 12:45pm on 27 Jun 2009, mrNikkie - Red Devil Till I Die!! wrote:

    Well, perhaps now that the TV rights are up for grabs, The BBC might cut some paychecks, stop the bonuses for all their corperate fatcats, and invest our TV liscence fee's in some live football coverage. Chps League, League cup, Premiership. The fee's are stupidly high, and not enough is spent giving us what we want! Are we the only country in the world who has to use a TV broadcaster not uk based. Come on BBC, get off your overpaid backsides and win these TV rights!


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  • 191. At 4:16pm on 27 Jun 2009, EricMay wrote:

    I live in the USA and subscribe to Setanta, FSC and receive ESPN all via Dish satellite network. I have read many of the blogs and many of them have good comments but I am not as negative as many bloggers. As a football fan I'd like to say the combined coverage through these three services has been excellent and compared to the coverage of a few years it is marvellous as I can watch pretty well every premier league game each weekend let alone all the other competitions and leagues, if I want to. So I hope Setanta USA will continue unchanged as they have announced but somehow I think there will changes. I have been concerned about the picture quality as only ESPN has HD presentations so far although I think FSC has said that maybe they will start up some HD in the coming season. One of the things I dont like about Setanta has been their incredibly repetitive advetisements. All of the channels sometime show results of other matches during broadcasts and for some like me who likes to watch most matches each week this is a problem.

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  • 192. At 10:17am on 02 Jul 2009, U6238820 wrote:

    Mr Bose

    Thankyou for a thoughtful opening piece.

    I suspect that the Chinese whispers that there is too much money in English football to be sustainable in a deep recession is rather more relevant to the unfortunate demise of Setanta than just their hopelessly unprofessional treatment of customers.

    Sky at least offers longevity and has demonstrated its ability to keep a reasonable level of interested subscribers, especially since its coverage is very professional and entertaining across most sports. But in isolation Sky can negotiate their own terms, a situation that may not frighten the Premier League but would certainly upset the FA. ESPN will possibly relieve FA worries but for how long and will they wish to carry England games in tandem with terrestrial partners?

    My own view is that the BBC have been very tardy with our national sport. I can understand that live Premiership matches are beyond the BBC's reach with competition from Sky (unless football becomes a Dutch auction) but what is the problem covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland live? The BBC already spend lots of money on Rugby Union, Tennis and Golf (middle class sports) but not on the working man's game at International and football league level.

    We have the same issues with cricket where the BBC could have looked very seriously at Twenty20 if not Tests and the Ashes.

    Perhaps the answer is for the BBC to have subscription services running alongside a much more restricted free to air network based around a license fee of maybe a third its current size (say fifty pounds a year). Releasing earmarked cash for each and every license payer would enable them to select the subscriptions they want without depriving the many of a much tighter and potentially better core service. It would also give Sky real and solid competition which must be good for all sports.

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  • 193. At 04:02am on 03 Jul 2009, sloppy-giuseppe wrote:

    Hi. I liked the article, as it was informative. But the headline ? The only reference to that was in the final line of the piece, when it was re-iterated! So it was hardly a worthy headline for the article. Come on! You're better than this!

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  • 194. At 11:56pm on 29 Aug 2009, dimspace wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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