Deathwatch: Setanta - the beginning of the end?

11 February 2009

Setanta, who lest we forget, Bitterwallet readers voted as the Worst Company In The UK for 2008, are in a bit of a pickle – and that’s putting it mildly.

Last week their live Premier League offering from 2010-13 was slashed in half when Sky regained the Monday night package of matches and now the Irish pay-per-view irritants appear to be scrabbling around to repair the damage.

They’re said to be trying to regain the Monday night games, either by moaning to the Premier League that the whole thing is unfair, or by sidling up to Sky and trying to sub-licence the package back from them.

As a result of these latest developments, analysts predict that thousands of subscribers will be dropping Setanta quicker than a hot brick. Additionally, the company have appointed the Close Brothers merchant bank to help them raise £159 million. Doesn’t sound like the recipe for a sound sporting future - it could all look like this in a year or so.



  • jaysexy212005
    Can't believe sky got 5 out of 6 packages. There needs to be more competition in bidding for these rights. The BBC and ITV should have made a joint bid for one of the packages.
  • Dave M.
    glad i got sky
  • Steve
    Personally, I'm happy that Sky got the majority of the packages available, it would have been even better if they could have got them all and stopped all this nonsense about creating consumer choice. I should probably point out at this point that I am a Sky Sports subscriber! :) Dividing the packages up between companies does not give consumers choice as it was designed to do. Consumers don't have a choice of who provides their football coverage, they only have a choice of what football they want to watch. If a consumer wants to watch the 'big' Premier League games (those that are critical to the title race, or relegation), then they will have to get Sky, as Sky carry all the major games. Ok this might not be fair, as it depends on the team that you support, but I reckon that the majority of people who subscribe to Setanta for Premier League football also have a Sky Sports subscription. I do agree that maybe ITV and BBC bidding for rights would have been good, however they were unlikely to do so with the costs that would have been incurred. Finally a note about quality. Sky's HD service is brilliant and their coverage of matches is excellent. Even if sometimes they overhype a mid-table match. From what I've seen of Setanta they are not able to match this.... Somebody prove me wrong.
  • chrisg.
    Sky's coverage is second to none. It's superb, in HD and just the right level and quality of commentary and analysis. Setanta in comparison are *almost* as bad as ITV.
  • -=Mike H.
    Who cares? Football's for puffs, change channel luv, ruggers on.
  • Martin
    > Setanta in comparison are *almost* as bad as ITV. How can you [Want minty fresh breath? Buy Tic Tacs] bad?
  • magicjay
    Good on Sky. My subscription to Sky Sports should allow me access to all these live games instead of having to fork out £13 to Setanta every month just to watch one decent game every so often. I hope Setanta now realise they should put more emphasis on quality of commentators, customer service, punditry etc instead of raking in all the money from subscriptions.
  • Joe S.
    As Steve says: "Dividing the packages up between companies does not give consumers choice as it was designed to do." All it does is mean you have to fork out more money. With the price of these match packages going up, even if the BBC and ITV HAD acquired some of them, there is no way they would shown them for free. they would probably set up a pay TV channel for it. The flip side is, everyone gets up in arms about SKY owning most of the sports rights, but when BBC and ITV do show sport they just **** for it, because it screws up the TV listings, like when the Euro's were on last summer. The argument was England aren't there, so what's the point in watching. Ignoring the fact that almost every match was brilliant, I could argue I don't support any of the Big Four, but I don't complain about Champions League being on.
  • Sam
    Sky receiving rights for almost all the packages just increases their monopoly power. Sky effectively dominate the supply of sporting events coverage, and therefore you pay a ridiculous premium (£10-15 a month extra?) to view. It is unfair, and doesn't benefit the consumer, just increases Sky's ability to set the price they want.
  • Steve
    @Sam "It is unfair, and doesn’t benefit the consumer, just increases Sky’s ability to set the price they want." How about some sort of compromise, where Ofcom regulates the prices of Sky Sports subscriptions and makes them syndicate to Freesat, Freeview in a similar way to the way they work with Virgin. That way everyone in the country (with Digital TV) will have the option of viewing live Premier League football. Of course this is only one step away from the Premier League itself doing the broadcasts themselves, which would never happen because of the money they make through the image rights and bidding process. I'm sure that Armchair fans will never again see the day where one TV company owns the rights to all Live Premier League packages, as the competition in the marketplace is just what the Premier League wants to force the bidding higher.
  • Martin
    £10-£15 a month is not that much for the number of matches you get. Compare that to a single PPV event like a boxing match.
  • Midnightz
    So Sky are allowed to have 5 out of 6 football packages but the Competition Commission says that the BBC and ITV aren't allowed to proceed with the Kangaroo project because it's unfair?! Something doesn't add up.
  • Mike
    Setanta should have stuck with football alone, provided better customer service and got, I don't care how, better quality pictures to its viewers. Also people who couldn't get Setanta because their dish was out should have been told it was a possibility when they rang to say they couldn't get signal.
  • Deathwatch B.
    [...] all started going a little Pete Tong for Setanta in February, when the Premier League gave half of Setanta’s matches to Sky. The loss of Monday night games sparked concerns amongst investors, and now The Guardian are [...]
  • yer m.
    yer ma wears yer clother s mike hock. no sorry u wear her cl;others u transvetite!! gay bastard

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