Cable TV firm NTL and Irish sports content company Setanta have joined forces to create Ireland’s fifth TV channel, which will broadcast live matches from the English and Scottish Premier Leagues as well as exclusive live rights for the Rugby Celtic league to over 340,000 NTL customers.
The launch of Ireland’s first dedicated sports channel, known as Setanta Sports, will take place in August and it will initially start broadcasting on a weekend basis in time for the new sporting season.
From January, Setanta Sports will extend its broadcast hours to include programming from Monday to Sunday inclusive.
Commenting on the new channel, Niall Cogley, chief executive of Setanta Sports, said: “This new channel is a significant step in the Irish broadcast market place. In a relatively short-time Setanta has acquired the rights to top class sports programming, which has a direct relevance and appeal to a wide audience in Ireland. Setanta has built up a significant broadcasting business over the last 14 years and looks forward to building on that with the launch of Setanta Sports. Our partnership with NTL Ireland will enable us to deliver this unique channel to over 340,000 NTL homes.”
Setanta’s spread of coverage for its sports media products now extend to television, online and mobile telephony. The Dublin-based company holds significant stakes in Dublin’s Newstalk 106 and Kilkenny/Carlow Local Radio. It also has substantial new media interests and provides a range of sports services through SMS to Vodafone. The company provides over 200 hours annually of television coverage and is also involved in compiling sports magazines.
By John Kennedy