Setanta Sports: Wikis


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Setanta Sports
Setanta Sports.svg
Setanta Sports logo
Launched 1990
Audience share 0.1% 2007 estimate 1.2m in 2009 [1][2] (, )
Country Ireland
Broadcast area International
Digital terrestrial (Ireland) (Concluded trial) Channel 17, Current DTT Not yet operational
Sky Ireland (Ireland) Channel 418
Foxtel Digital (Australia) Channel 525
Austar Digital (Australia) Channel 510
UBI World TV (Australia) Channel 3
World TV (USA) Channel 752
UPC Ireland (Ireland) Channel 105/401
Rogers Cable (Canada) Channel 429
Videotron (Canada) Channel 85 (SD)
TransACT (Australia) Channel 365
NEXTV (USA & Canada)
Connectv (USA & Canada)
GekTV (USA) Channel 101

Setanta Sports (English pronunciation: /sɛˈtɑːntə/) is an international sports broadcaster based in Dublin, Ireland.

Setanta Sports was formed in 1990 to facilitate the broadcasting of Irish sporting events to Irish expatriates. The channel operates individual channels in Ireland, Canada, Africa, and Australia.



As of 27 July 2009, the ownership structure of Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited (previously Setanta Sports Ireland Ltd) has changed. Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited is now co-owned by Gaiety Investments (60% share) with the remaining 40% share made up by Sabloss Limited. The main shareholders in Sabloss are Michael O'Rourke, Leonard Ryan, and Mark O'Meara. Sabloss has also purchased 100% of the shares in Setanta Sports North America Limited. Both Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited and Setanta Sports North America Limited are licenced by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.[3]


Setanta Sports offers commercial venues in several countries around the world programming of sports such as football (soccer), Gaelic football, hurling, golf, cricket, Australian rules football, rugby union and league and boxing






  • Setanta Sports


  • Setanta-i
  • Setanta Sports Asia (Coming Soon)

Previous operations

  • United Kingdom

Setanta Sports GB operated Setanta Sports 1 and Setanta Sports 2 within the United Kingdom. Under a joint venture with Virgin Media, it operated Setanta Sports News. Setanta Sports GB went into administration on 22 June 2009 on 6pm all its channels ceased operations within the United Kingdom.[4]

  • United States of America

Setanta Sports previously broadcasted in the United States with Setanta Sports USA. The channel ceased operations on 28 February 2010[5])

Other business

Digital Terrestrial Television (Republic of Ireland) On 1 May 2009, Fintan Drury, chairperson of the OneVision, the consortium behind the pay services for the forthcoming Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) service within Ireland, announced announced that OneVision is to enter negotiations with the BCI with the view to takeover operations of the pay DTT service.[6] According to an article in The Sunday Business Post on 20 September 2009, both TV3 and Setanta are to take a lesser stake in OneVision. In the same article, it stated that both Eircom and Arqiva are to increase their stake in the company. Such changes will only be granted based on regulations set out by the BCI. This could lead to further setbacks in the roll-out of DTT in Ireland.

Also, with the ongoing acquisition of Eircom by another company, this could lead to further setbacks.[7]

On 20 November, 2009, Advanced reported that OneVision DTT have been given weeks to decide if they will sign off on the license for three multiplexes for DTT with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland or not. If OneVision is not forthcoming in ironing out remaining issues regarding the license, it is possible the BAI withdraw the DTT License offer and may then offer the license to Easy TV. If OneVision signs, then commercial DTT contracts with the BAI & RTÉ plans may become more public.[8] It would appear that the BAI is keen to avoid the long delay experienced with Boxer DTT Ireland.[9].

From March 2010, Setanta Sports will provide Setanta Bet, an online gaming service for customers within Ireland. The venture is being developed in partnership with French gaming company ChiliGaming.[10]


Just as when Sky Sports, in the 1990s, first obtained the exclusive rights to screen live coverage of England's away qualifiers, so Setanta have attracted similar criticism as a result of it having now obtained the same contract. Whereas Sky often sold on a highlights package to a terrestrial broadcaster (BBC), Setanta indicated that the sums offered by terrestrial broadcasters, reported to be £100,000 to £200,000, were five to ten times lower than their perceived market value; Setanta paid £5 million to screen England's away qualifier with Croatia on 10 September 2008 and believed a sensible highlights package should attract a fee of £1 million.[11] Thus, no highlights package was agreed, and Setanta themselves showed highlights of both England and Scotland qualifiers free-to-air after the live games had concluded. This was announced at 6pm on the day the matches took place, and received 220,000 viewers.[12] Setanta then accepted "a low, six-figure deal" with ITV to show delayed "extended highlights" a few days later.

Setanta's subscriber numbers were lower than those of Sky Sports, and the number of households watching the match live was estimated at around 1.5 million. Because of the availability of Setanta on both digital satellite and digital terrestrial television, the possible subscriber base surpasses that of Sky Sports (not presently available via DTT) but fans who were unwilling to subscribe could not see the match live. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown indicated he felt it "unfortunate" more fans could not see the match live (that is, without paying a subscription fee).

Cancellation issues

Setanta had also received significant criticism of its cancellation policy, with the issue investigated by the BBC's Watchdog programme and Radio Five Live.[13][14] Whilst customers were able to subscribe either online or over the telephone, many customers found it "nigh-on impossible to cancel" the service, with the only means of a cancellation being to inform the company in writing.[15]

Because of the amount of negative feedback received Setanta has recently changed this to allow for cancellations to be done through email. Furthermore, whilst customers were originally entered into a 30 day notice period once their cancellation letter was received this time was recently put up to 60 days without any information being sent to customers, again because of the negative feedback this was quickly reduced back to 30 days.[15] These customer service issues have been compounded by the fact that customers have to phone a premium rate number should they have any issues to resolve, with calls costing at least 10 pence per minute.[16]

Financial difficulties and administration

According to the official Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the most recent annual accounts lodged by Setanta Sports S.a.r.l. indicated losses of 173 million (UK£149 million).[17]

Reports on 7 June 2009 suggested that Setanta could be forced into administration that week[18] after failing to make payments due on TV rights.

Because of late payment and renegotiation over fees by Setanta to football clubs, several UK football clubs were put into financial difficullties as money promised had been spent in annual budgets. On 4 June 2009, the Scottish Premier League announced they would be paying the sums that some of the clubs were owed to avoid causing them financial problems.[19]

On 19 June 2009, Setanta Sports failed to pay the latest instalment of £30 million (€35 million) it owed the English Premier League. The Premier League had to sell the rights to the 46 live matches Setanta had for the 2009/10 season. A Premier League spokesman said, "It is with considerable regret that we announce that Setanta has been unable to meet their obligations. As such the existing licence agreement between us has been terminated with immediate effect."[20][21]

On 20 June 2009, the Daily Mail reported that a rescue deal had failed and "administration now looks inevitable".[22]

On 22 June 2009, it was reported on RTE News that the original Setanta Sports channel Setanta Ireland might be bought out by an existing consortium who already hold interests in Setanta Sport Holdings Ltd the Irish arm of Setanta Sports. Setanta Sports Ireland and Setanta Sports North America were the only brands which made a profit in 2008.[23]

On 22 June 2009, Setanta lost all their Scottish Premier League TV rights because it was unable to pay the £3m (€3.5m) owed to the Scottish Premier League.[24] Following this, it was announced that ESPN had bought the rights to show the 46 Premier League games bought by Setanta next season.[25]

On 23 June 2009, the company went into administration following failure to make payments to a number of sporting organisations. About 200 employees will be made redundant. The administration is to be handled by Deloitte.[26]

Further reaction

On 21 June 2009 BT Vision stopped selling Setanta Sports [27]. Disney's ESPN won the rights to broadcasting the Premier League matches forfeited by Setanta [28] for the 2009/10 season.[29][30] 430 jobs, 200 of which are in Ireland, were expected to be lost as a result of its going into administration.[31]

See also

  • Special 1 TV - parody program on Setanta Sports that featuring puppet caricatures of football personalities.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Shape up (2 May 2009). "OneVision sets sights on paid-for TV project - Irish, Business". Retrieved 23 June 2009. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Interview, Victoria Derbyshire (programme), BBC Radio Five Live, 10-11 September 2008
  12. ^ ITV to show England-Croatia highlights after striking Setanta deal, The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  13. ^ Victoria Derbyshire. "5 live - Victoria Derbyshire's Blog". BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  14. ^ Joe Mather - series producer (2008-12-01). "Watchdog: Setanta users experience viewing problems". BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  15. ^ a b Lou Birt - Programme Editor. "5 live - Victoria Derbyshire's Blog". BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  16. ^ "Contact Us". Setanta. 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  17. ^ "Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés". Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  18. ^ 7 June 2009 (2009-06-07). "The Press Association: Setanta facing administration". Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  19. ^ "UK | Scotland | SPL pays up in lieu of TV money". BBC News. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  20. ^ "Setanta loses Premier TV rights". BBC News. 19 June 2009. 
  21. ^ "Deadline looms for Setanta rights". BBC News. 21 June 2009. 
  22. ^ Sale, Charles (2009-06-20). "Setanta bust! FA face £100m crisis after TV company is forced to pull the plug". Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  23. ^ "RTÉ Business: ESPN snaps up Premier League rights". Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  24. ^ "SPL statement on Setanta". Scottish Premier League. 22 June 2009. 
  25. ^ "ESPN buys rights to Setanta games". BBC News. 22 June 2009. 
  26. ^ "Business | Setanta goes into administration". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  27. ^ BT Vision stops selling Setanta BBC News, 21 June 2009
  28. ^ Setanta loses Premier League contract after failing to repay debt Times Online 19 June 2009
  29. ^ ESPN buys rights to Setanta games BBC Sport 22 June 2009
  30. ^ Setanta collapses could cost Premier League clubs £30m The Guardian, 18 June 2009
  31. ^ Setanta goes into administration BBC News 23 June 2009

External links

Simple English

Setanta Sports (pronounced [sɛˈtantə]) is an Irish sports broadcaster, operating 12 channels in 24 countries.[needs proof] Setanta Sports was formed in 1990.

Setanta covers various sports including golf, rugby and football.

Other pages

Scottish Premier League

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