Eir has acquired sports TV broadcaster Setanta for an undisclosed sum

7 Dec 2015

Eir recently reported that its Eir Vision service has 43,000 customers and the service has been taken up by 24pc of its fibre customer base.

Telecoms operator Eir, formerly known as Eircom, has acquired sports broadcaster Setanta for an undisclosed sum. The deal includes BT Sports’ Irish rights.

Eir has been expanding its TV operations with new content and on-the-go app features, and this transaction significantly bulks up its offering.

Eir recently reported that its Eir Vision service has 43,000 customers and the service has been taken up by 24pc of its fibre customer base.

Setanta operates two sports channels in Ireland and has just signed a multi-year extension to its current deal with BT Sports.

A new paradigm for sports coverage in Ireland

“This is an extremely exciting and very important first step for us in television content ownership,” said Richard Moat, CEO of Eir.

“We will now offer our customers the widest range and highest calibre of sports content in Ireland. Buying Setanta Sports Ireland is a game changer for Eir and is our largest acquisition since we purchased Meteor in 2005.”

The deal will require the approval of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission together with the approval of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources before completion. Those processes will commence with formal notifications in the coming weeks.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Setanta Sports Ireland,” said Michael O’Rourke, CEO of Setanta Sports.

“This is really positive news for our customers, our colleagues and our business. Eir’s scale and reach presents us with the opportunity to grow our sports offering in Ireland. Since the launch of our Irish business in 2004, we have worked hard to build a business that ensures Irish sports fans can access the widest possible choice of Irish and International sport.

“This agreement will ensure growing investment in Irish sport. I’m delighted for the team at Setanta and the investors who have shown so much commitment over the years. I have no doubt the business will grow even further in the future.”

Sports Ireland offers a compelling range of exclusive sports content in the Republic of Ireland, including Live Barclays Premier League Games, every UEFA Champions League game and exclusive Europa League games, FA Cup, exclusive European Rugby Champions Cup games, all Formula 1 races, live Allianz Leagues GAA games plus English Aviva Premiership Rugby, Irish Schools Rugby, Moto GP, UFC, NBA, NHL and The Masters. BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and BT Sport ESPN are also available as part of the Setanta Sports Pack in the Republic of Ireland.

TV sports image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years