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Setanta will die very soon

Discussion in 'Sports Programming and Events' started by Chandu, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Chandu

    Chandu Hall Of Fame

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    Oct 2, 2005
  2. vansmack

    vansmack Godfather

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    Setanta Sports USA
    Important Customer Message


    As has been widely reported in various media channels, Setanta Sports has today 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 Barclay’s 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.

    New customers are welcome to subscribe to watch some of the world’s best soccer and rugby either by contacting our cable and satellite partners or online at www.setanta.com.

    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.

    http://www.setanta.com/global/us.html
     
  3. Chandu

    Chandu Hall Of Fame

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    Somehow, this reads like a corporate marketing PR; a face-saving gimmick to me. I don't know how much to trust this, I'm taking it with a grain of salt. Why? Because it makes no sense to me at all. The main arm of the company has lots its most valuable inventory for UK and Ireland rights. They've lost their head, neck, their heart; pretty much their vital organs. That is where the biggest financial shortfall came from. Even the English Premier League itself doesn't know who is going to acquire those rights now; we may find out on Monday.

    Let's assume for argument sake that ESPN acquires them. Why would it make sense for ESPN and Premiership to then allow those rights in USA to be sold to an entity like Setanta USA? Nowhere in the news it states that Setanta USA (and Setanta Canada) have been spun off as independent entities yet. The investor(s) in the news didn't seem interested in acquiring the American or Candian arms as pieces. It makes no sense for a company like ESPN if they were to win UK and Ireland rights to then sell to a company like Setanta in USA or Canada. They can very easily include rights on the American ESPN or Candian TSN as part of these negotiations now. The way things stand, Setanta brand name has got no credibility left anymore. It is severely crippled on life support. Given the financial risk and lack of a buyer only in American and Canadian entities of this company, I'm about to write them off as "once have-been wannabes".

    These guys tried to bite more than they could chew and are now facing the harsh consequences.

    The other stuff like Rugby Union, AFL is very small piece of the game. It is so micro-niche, really only a PPV model makes most sense financially; not even current premium subscription. Do you honestly want to believe there are so many compelling subscribers in USA only due to Rugby Union or only due to Australian Football? No way. Bulk of those premium subscribers were only due to English Premiership or Champions League. If the Premiership rights in USA come in danger, watch the subscriber base dropping like flies. Show me the financial balance sheet of the Setanta USA with a projected decline in subscriber base, under such financial uncertainties. Show me which investor in their right mind would want to keep burning money on a gravely ill and dying patient like this.

    I think next week is going to be crucial for the American landscape for this channel to become lot clearer.

    EDIT: What I wrote above is not hyperbole. Here, take a look at the extent of damage the parent company has suffered; and how the rich Russian dude walked away from this mess before you could say "oh ....". Setanta USA has not been spun off from parent Setanta yet, therefore I'm justified in thinking that in their present form their days in US maybe numbered as well.

    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2009/06/20/sportstory13331199t0.asp

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/82cf4e6c-5cd4-11de-9d42-00144feabdc0.html

     
  4. Chandu

    Chandu Hall Of Fame

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    The day after:

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0620/setanta.html

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/article6539855.ece

    http://www.digitalspy.com/broadcasting/a161081/setanta-us-retains-premier-league-rights.html

    But the million dollar question (quite literally) as I asked above is: Who are the wise investor(s) which will keep this Setanta US alive now, after the parent company is almost guaranteed to fold?
     
  5. kstuart

    kstuart Icon

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    There is a lot of misunderstanding out there about English Premier League broadcasts in the USA.

    Here are the facts:

    - All of the above references to "ESPN" are actually "ESPN International" and only affect UK broadcast rights.

    - The broadcast rights in the UK are entirely separate from the broadcast rights in the USA. All of the USA broadcast rights for many years, including the upcoming August 2009 through May 2010 Premier League Season are owned by Fox Sports International who own Fox Soccer Channel USA.

    - Setanta USA channel sub-leases half the Premier League broadcast rights from Fox. If they go out of business, Fox retains the rights.

    - Setanta USA channel is a mildly profitable business owned by Setanta UK, a very unprofitable business. If Setanta UK goes bankrupt, then Setanta USA is a valuable asset that will be sold, and would lose its value if it stopped operating, so it is likely to continue at least for the next year much the same as it has.

    - In January 2010, Fox Soccer launch Fox Soccer Channel HD, which will carry 1-2 Premier League matches in full HD, as well as UEFA Champions League matches in full HD, and possibly Serie A matches in HD. Meanwhile, Fox will also show UEFA Champions League matches in full HD starting in August (perhaps Arsenal ?) on the HD Regional Sports Networks. They will not be blacked out, so if your local RSN does not carry them, then simply subscribe to Dish Network Multi-Sports ($5 per month) or the equivalent DirecTV pack and you will get to see them. In May 2010, Fox will air the UEFA Champions League Final on FX-HD (it is scheduled to be played on a Saturday, btw).

    PS I know for a fact that the new programming people at Dish Network are aware of the plans for Fox Soccer Channel HD and understands its importance to soccer fans.
     
  6. Chandu

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    You really mean the "has been" (soon to be "had been") headquarters for the company. So, it's not a question of "if", rather "when". Also, it's not just "Setanta UK" if at all there had been such a thing that will go bankrupt. The entire company will. The earliest estimates I've seen are as early as tomorrow. At least over the next week would be a reasonable estimate.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-5699-NY-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m6d21-Body-blow-to-UK-boxing-as-Setanta-folds-tent

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8111563.stm

    Of course, but the question is to whom? ESPN/Disney or Fox/News Corp, or someone else?? I think ESPN will snap them up on very cheap now. It looks next to impossible an independent entity called Setanta USA can continue running without being sold, if the main company and headquarters folds. Who are the investors that will keep funding it? Even though it may be shown "profitable" on its own, there may have been some subsidizing from the headquarter which we don't know about. We haven't seen the details on financial balance sheets, so I'm not willing to take the company's official statement as gospel.

    Somewhat tangentially related info, but mostly non sequitur paragraph which doesn't directly address the topic of this thread:

    What is the immediate future of Setanta USA, and who/when will they be sold to? If they're not spun off/sold as a unit, what will be the fate of different rights held by them? Yes, the English Premiership will automatically revert to Fox, but then there are questions about scheduling and bandwidth. As far as I know, Fox won't launch a separate dedicated channel of separate content to be able to show 2 concurrently live English Premiership matches. Fox Soccer Channel HD and SD will be simulcasts of same content at a given time. There is no talk of using FX as a spillover channel for showing a second concurrently live match.

    It's not just English Premeirship and Champions League which Setanta USA showed. What will happen to all other little stuff: Scottish League, French League, Coca Cola Championship, Russian League AND last but not the least, what about Rugby Union, Australian Football, Gaelic sport and Rugby League? What Fox plans to do with their HD channels means little for these questions if Fox (or even ESPN) don't touch these things. In most likelihood they won't. My prediction is, most of this stuff will end up in PPV or internet broadband streaming e.g. ESPN360 category.

    An even more non sequitur statement for this subforum, since it's a sports programming specific, platform neutral area. There are DirecTV as well as DISH or even cable consumers here, not necessarily all caring about what Dish plans to do.
     
  7. kstuart

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    The thread in the Dish Network area was closed with a link to this one.

    I never make negative statements about other providers, since I do not subscribe to their services, so I cannot comment. So, the information about Dish Network is just information, not intended as being "against" any other provider.

    In regards to Setanta Sports USA Channel, if the reports are true that it is a profitable operation, then it will continue as it is now. Someone might buy a failing operation for the "parts" (customer list, rights contracts, etc). But in this case, no one is going to buy the channel only to move the programming from a $15 per month channel to an ad-supported channel (like ESPN). The value is a base of customers willing to pay $15 per month.

    If someone was interested in the USA rights contracts for the various overseas sports, then they would have already bid for them before. In actuality, Setanta USA does a unique job of putting together a bunch of tiny groups of fans of overseas sports - rugby, soccer, etc. - that together make a base that can support a channel. All those sports have previously failed to generate enough advertising to support themselves on a free channel like ESPN. Only the English Premier League, and UEFA Champions League have enough English language viewers to be supported by advertising.

    So, either Setanta Sports USA channel will cease entirely or it will be sold to someone who will operate it just as it has operated in the past.

    Setanta UK has creditors like Goldman Sachs who could end up with Setanta Sports USA channel in bankruptcy proceedings, and who would want to preserve its financial value by continuing to operate it.

    Its conceivable that Fox Sports International might end up operating Setanta Sports USA, since they would continue collecting $15 per month, but they would not have to pay themselves for the EPL and UEFA CL sub-leasing rights. ;)
     
  8. Chandu

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    Oh, OK; I had no idea about that. That's cool.

    The trouble is that, the "if" in your sentence maybe a big 'if". If I were an investor, I would have a "once bitten, twice shy" attitude about this, unless and until every single penny on the books is fully accounted for. Refer to the links above in this thread, in which the Russian billionaire found about a huge unpaid tax bill as a surprise. And about the big Goldman Sachs investment which has been completely wiped out, with nothing to show for. With this sort of financial track record, it's hard to be certain if those Setanta USA specific profitability reports are true. Who knows how they're breaking down the numbers, and whether they're moving numbers from one subsidy of business to another for international tax reasons or whatever. I'm not necessarily accusing them. All I'm saying is that we've seen a lot of financial wizardry lately; so there are unknowns here.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/world/news/e3i34e2ede5adb7e1e88d0364c005a2701d

    It's a conjecture, and your guess is as good as mine. Given that Goldman Sachs has already lost so much money already, I don't know if either them or Deloitte (who're supposed to be running administration from quoted reports) have got the wherewithal to continue to operate it as is.
     
  9. Mariah2014

    Mariah2014 Breaking the mold

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    Somewhere...
    Setanta has now been striped of all of their epl rights in the UK and have also lost the rights now to SPL as well. I have know doubt that they will likely fold in the next day or so. Suprised it hasn't happened yet. EPL handed a package of games to ESPN international that wasn't suposed to be up for bidding yet, but the rights for 2010-2013 also went to them taking everything Setanta had in the UK.
     
  10. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    I'm not sure that's a given; check the financial news lately.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank kstuart for his info. Setanta's a great channel, and I'd hate to see it go under here. Unless that meant that I'd get to watch all its programming for free somewhere else. :D
     
  11. bones boy

    bones boy Godfather

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    Do you have a link that substantiates this? I have a friend that works for Fox Sports and he's heard nothing about this. The rumors I've seen on the Web state by the end of 2010. Do you have better info?
     
  12. Chandu

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    Huh, what financial news? I'm not talking about general financial standing of Goldman Sachs, rather how much money Goldman Sachs has wasted investing specifically in Setanta. That information is well documented earlier in the thread among numerous links I posted.
     
  13. kstuart

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    ESPN International has won the rights to all Premiership broadcast rights previously purchased by Setanta UK (from 2009-2013) and has already sold non-exclusive broadcasting rights for the 46 matches in 2009-2010 to BSkyB "Sky" and is in negotiations with other UK providers, like BT and Virgin.

    This does not affect US broadcast rights in any way, they are only for the UK.

    ESPN International already has two channels in the UK that show American sports, but it chose not to show the Premiership matches on those channels.

    FA and Scottish League rights held by Setanta will be auctioned soon.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8113702.stm
     
  14. kstuart

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    People have friends who are idiots, apparently, as this is the second time today that I have read "I have a friend who works for... " and what the friend said was totally wrong.

    The head of Fox Soccer Channel was on Fox Football Fone-in a few weeks ago and stated what I typed, I heard it myself. A one minute google search should turn it up.

    Update:

    here it is:

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showpost.php?p=17431471&postcount=253
     
  15. Chandu

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    Ha, take a look at this. :nono2:

    http://www.morethanthegames.co.uk/summer-sports/224506-as-setanta-struggle-a-director-enjoys-wimbledon-royal-box-treatment

    A Setanta executive was seen in the Wimbledon royal box earlier Monday, on the first day of Wimbledon. The same day on which ESPN came invading, snatching English Premiership rights. Maybe he will now find a job with ESPN instead?

    Meanwhile, the Setanta executive board had their meeting in London earlier today (which it seems that Wimbledon going guy didn't attend, he had his priorities set right :D) about what to do next. But haven't heard about its outcome on the newswire yet. Maybe tomorrow.

    http://www.businessandleadership.com/leadership/news/article/14173/leadership/setanta-board-meets-to-consider-firms-future

     
  16. kstuart

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    La Liga will be on ESPN in the USA:

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=656581&sec=us&cc=5901
     
  17. Chandu

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    A US media blogger's take on these suddenly happening events, and what they mean to TV viewers in USA:

    http://www.multichannel.com/blog/My_Turn/17308-Setanta_On_the_Ropes.php

    Australian Football fanatics in USA blog about implications for AFL coverage in USA:

    http://www.afana.com/drupal5/news/2009/06/21/setanta_faces_receivership_within_hours-1394

     
  18. bones boy

    bones boy Godfather

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    :thats::rotfl::thats::rotfl::thats::rotfl::thats:


    :icon_lame
     
  19. Chandu

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    I addressed the Australian Football fan situation in earlier post. Now, here are news concerning Gaelic sports followers.

    http://www.examiner.ie/sport/gaa-chiefs-monitoring-setanta-situation-94701.html

     
  20. Chandu

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    Aha, here is a thought which just occurred to me:

    If Setanta USA isn't able to find a buyer quickly and US broadcast rights for English Premiership default back to Fox:

    Fox could use Fox Soccer Channel (SD/HD) and Fox Sports en Espan~ol to show 2 live concurrent matches if needed. Before Setanta USA came along, Fox Sports World or Fox Soccer Channel sometimes used to do this in association with FSE anyway. I heard this is what they plan to do for Champions League coverage as well. It also mirrors the model ESPN used for Champions' League with ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

    Of course, it would raise the language issue on 2 different channels - English vs. Espan~ol. If they want to be fancy, they could provide English as SAP audio digitally to all providers for FSE; and maybe Espan~ol as SAP audio for FSC. I believe FSE is already setup for English audio as SAP for select matches (e.g. Copa Libertadores), but currently this SAP facility is only setup with few providers e.g. DirecTV. They may have to extend it to all providers, DISH, Comcast, FiOS, Time Warner etc.

    I think they can get over the bandwidth issue easily, and if those rights revert back to Fox, it may not be such a bad thing after all. Of course, it can only be 1 HD match at a time. But it's not as if Setanta had any plans of HD rollout, so such solution purely from English Premiership perspective would be no worse than today.
     

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