Setanta Sports logo
|Picture format||16:9 (576i, SDTV)|
|Audience share||0.1% 2007 estimate 1.2m in 2009|
|Sky Ireland (Ireland)||Channel 423|
|Foxtel (Australia)||Channel 525|
|Austar (Australia)||Channel 510|
|UBI World TV(Australia)||Channel 3|
|TopTV South Africa||Channel 201|
|UPC Ireland (Ireland)||Channel 105/401|
|TransACT (Australia)||Channel 365|
|Digital TV (Kazakhstan)||Channel 52|
|iD TV (Kazakhstan)||Channel 61/93|
Setanta Sports // is an international sports broadcaster based in Dublin, Ireland. Setanta Sports was formed in 1990 to facilitate the broadcasting of Irish sporting events. The channel operates individual channels in Ireland, Asia, 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 Danu Partners Limited. The main shareholders in Danu are Michael O'Rourke, Leonard Ryan, and Mark O'Meara. Danu purchased 100% of the shares in Setanta Sports North America Limited which was disposed of in early 2010. Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited is licenced by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.
The Setanta business in Ireland has proved to be quite a scalable business and has managed to survive and thrive despite the difficulties in Setanta UK. Colin Morgan, formerly CEO of Quinn Direct Insurance, joined the Setanta Ireland business in October 2010.
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, boxing, NHL ice hockey and rugby union and league.
- United Kingdom
Setanta Sports GB operated Setanta Sports 1 & 2 and Setanta Golf within the United Kingdom. Under a joint venture with Virgin Media, it operated Setanta Sports News. Setanta Sports GB also operated Arsenal TV, Celtic TV, LFC TV and Rangers TV with their respective clubs. Setanta Sports GB went into administration on 22 June 2009, and at 6 pm most of its channels ceased operations within Great Britain. Setanta Sports Ireland's channels continue to broadcast in Northern Ireland.
Arsenal TV continued until August 2009 while Arsenal explored alternative options. While Liverpool F.C. assumed responsibility of LFC TV and decided to continue broadcasting as normal. Since September 2009, Michael O'Rourke's Premier Sports has shown content from Setanta Ireland in Great Britain, some of which was originally available on Setanta Sports GB's channels.
- United States of America
Setanta Sports previously broadcast in the United States with Setanta Sports USA. The channel ceased operations on 28 February 2010. This channel was then changed to Fox Soccer Plus on Fios Channel 1009.
Setanta Sports previously operated a version of the channel in Canada as a joint venture with Canadian media company Rogers Communications (Setanta itself owned 20% of the network). However, Rogers announced in July 2011 that the channel would be re-aligned as part of its Sportsnet networks, and become Sportsnet World on October 3, 2011. Additionally, Setanta Sports no longer has any ownership interests with the network—its minority stake was acquired by Rogers before the re-branding. The re-launch would also come alongside an overall re-branding of the Sportsnet networks.
- In 2009, Setanta Sports had shares in OneVision. OneVision where initially given the opportunity to develop the digital terrestrial network in the Republic of Ireland. Negotiations with RTE Networks fell through in May 2010.
- From March 2010, Setanta Sports will provide www.setantabet.com an online gaming service for customers within Ireland. The venture is being developed in partnership with Jennings bet.
- October 2010, Setanta HD was launched exclusively on UPC Ireland.
- October 2010, Setanta Sports launched applications on the iPhone and a Setanta Goals service for other handsets.
Just as when Sky Sports, in the 1990s, first obtained the exclusive rights to screen live coverage of the England national football team's away qualifying matches for the World Cup, so Setanta attracted similar criticism as a result of it having 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. 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 6 pm on the day the matches took place, and received 220,000 viewers. Setanta then accepted "a low, six-figure deal" with ITV to show delayed "extended highlights" a few days later.
Setanta's UK 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 theoretical possible subscriber base surpassed that of Sky Sports (not presently available via DTT) but fans who were unwilling to subscribe could not see the match live. Then 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).
Setanta UK also received significant criticism of its cancellation policy, with the issue investigated by the BBC's Watchdog programme and Radio Five Live. Whilst customers were able to subscribe either on-line 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.
Because of the amount of negative feedback received, Setanta UK eventually 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 was increased to 60 days without any information being sent to customers; again, because of the negative feedback, this was quickly reduced back to 30 days. In Australia it is not 30 days notice. It is 30 days notice from the end of the billing period which can be a lot more. They don't tell you this until you have paid a further payment and then they refuse to refund. These customer service issues were compounded by the fact that customers had to phone a premium rate number should they have any issues to resolve, with calls costing at least 10 pence per minute.
Financial difficulties and UK administration
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (June 2009)|
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).
Reports on 7 June 2009 suggested that Setanta could be forced into administration that week 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 difficulties as money promised had been spent in annual budgets. On 4 June, the Scottish Premier League announced they would be paying the sums that some of the clubs were owed to avoid causing them financial problems.
On 19 June, Setanta Sports failed to pay the latest installment 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."
Following this, the Daily Mail reported that a rescue deal had failed and "administration now looks inevitable". Two days later, 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. The same day, Setanta lost all their SPL TV rights because they were unable to pay the £3m (€3.5m) owed to the league. Following this, it was announced that ESPN had bought the rights to show the 46 Premier League games bought by Setanta next season. The UK company went into administration following failure to make payments to a number of sporting organisations. About 200 employees were made redundant. The administration is to be handled by Deloitte.
According to the final report published by Setanta's administrator Deloitte, released in July 2010, the broadcaster had outstanding bank loans of UK£261m and unsecured debt of UK£288m. Deloitte said that unsecured lenders received just 2p for every pound that they have claimed back from the defunct operator.
Further UK reaction
On 21 June, BT Vision stopped selling Setanta Sports. Disney's ESPN won the rights to broadcasting the Premier League matches forfeited by Setanta for the 2009/10 season. 430 jobs, 200 of which are in Ireland, were expected to be lost as a result of its going into administration.
Setanta made a strong recovery in Ireland since the adversity in the UK, continuing its resurrection by employing a further 50 employees in February 2010. The Setanta Ireland channel is available to entire UPC base as basic channel in Ireland, around 1.3 million homes but actually in about 530,000. Setanta also has operations in Canada, Australia and recently launched in Asia.
First Irish Channel to go HD
In September 2010, Setanta Ireland announced that it would be Ireland's first indigenous channel to broadcast in HD. The service launched in January 2011. The service is only available on the UPC platform. The Dublin v Armagh encounter on the 16th of January 2011 was Ireland’s first broadcast of Gaelic Games in High Definition.
- Special 1 TV - parody programme on Setanta Sports that featuring puppet caricatures of football personalities.
- "Setanta goes into administration". BBC News. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- Robinson, James (18 June 2009). "Setanta collapse could cost Premier League clubs £30m". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "Arsenal FC statement regarding Arsenal TV". Arsenal F.C. 2009-06-24.
- "Liverpool FC: TV channel to continue". Digital Spy. 2009-06-23.
- Krashinsky, Susan. "Rogers builds Sportsnet brand with soccer station". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Krashinsky, Susan. "Sportsnet drops the ‘Rogers’ and gains a whole new look". The Globe and Mail.
- Interview, Victoria Derbyshire (programme), BBC Radio Five Live, 10–11 September 2008
- ITV to show England-Croatia highlights after striking Setanta deal, The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
- Victoria Derbyshire. "5 live - Victoria Derbyshire's Blog". BBC. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Joe Mather - series producer (1 December 2008). "Watchdog: Setanta users experience viewing problems". BBC. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Lou Birt - Programme Editor. "5 live - Victoria Derbyshire's Blog". BBC. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "Contact Us". Setanta. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2009.[dead link]
- "Official filing". Luxembourg Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "The Press Association: Setanta facing administration". Google. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "UK | Scotland | SPL pays up in lieu of TV money". BBC News. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "Setanta loses Premier TV rights". BBC News. 19 June 2009.
- "Deadline looms for Setanta rights". BBC News. 21 June 2009.
- Sale, Charles (20 June 2009). "Setanta bust! FA face £100m crisis after TV company is forced to pull the plug". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 21 June 2009.
- "RTÉ Business: ESPN snaps up Premier League rights". Rte.ie. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "SPL statement on Setanta". Scottish Premier League. 22 June 2009.
- "ESPN buys rights to Setanta games". BBC News. 22 June 2009.
- "Business | Setanta goes into administration". BBC News. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "Sports broadcaster Setanta collapsed with £550m debts". City A.M. 12 July 2010.
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8111563.stm BT Vision stops selling Setanta BBC News, 21 June 2009
- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article6538973.ece Setanta loses Premier League contract after failing to repay debt Times Online 19 June 2009
- ESPN buys rights to Setanta games, BBC Sport, 22 June 2009
- Setanta collapses could cost Premier League clubs £30m The Guardian, 18 June 2009
- Setanta goes into administration, BBC News, 23 June 2009