Setanta Sports scores in US internet TV deal

22 Aug 2006

Irish digital media player Setanta Sports has signed a deal to provide European soccer and rugby programming to a US internet television (IPTV) player that specialises in providing content to European ex-pats living in the US.

The deal, the value of which was not disclosed, will see Setanta provide Interactive Television Networks Inc subscribers with live international soccer and rugby for US$14.95 a month.

The deal coincides with a growing interest in soccer in the US.

“As ABC News reports, this year’s World Cup viewership increased 65pc as compared to the 2002 World Cup,” said Charles Prast, CEO of ITVN.

“Throughout the US, the popularity of soccer, rugby and other sports available on the Setanta Sports channel is growing. The availability of Setanta Sports on ITVN’s award-winning service will increase the awareness of ITVN within a large and growing market of international sports enthusiasts.”

The deal is the latest in a number of international deals brokered by Dublin-headquartered Setanta. The company now serves sports content to some 60 million digital TV homes globally and has its US operations in San Francisco.

Under the deal brokered with Interactive Television Networks Inc, US subscribers will pay US$14.95 for European sports content and will receive a free internet protocol TV (IPTV) set-top box with a 12-month commitment to Setanta.

“The network is designed primarily, but not exclusively, for European expatriates living in the US and those of European ancestry whose passion for popular national sports keep them connected to their country of origin,” said Simon Green, chief executive, Setanta Sports North America.

“With the growing interest in soccer in the US, Setanta Sports is confident its European-style, on-air presentation and programming line-up will appeal to these new soccer fans from all walks of life.”

Setanta says that IPTV, while offering the same quality as satellite or cable, has many advantages, such as virtually limitless programming and on-demand content because only channels selected by consumers are delivered over home broadband networks. All content – including HDTV – can be distributed on a subscription or pay-per-view basis with content promotion integrated into the user experience.

IPTV, Setanta says, offers true interactivity, allowing two-way communication with services comparable to the web, in turn creating a better environment for users, programmers and advertisers.

By John Kennedy