SELECT PROGRAMMING RIGHTS TO BE TRANSFERRED
New York, NY, January 27th, 2010 – Setanta Sports has today announced that it has reached an agreement with Fox Soccer Channel to transfer select programming rights, including many premium soccer and rugby events. Fox Soccer Channel will acquire these rights effective March 1, 2010.
Setanta Sports also announced that it will cease broadcasting its channel in the United States and the Caribbean on February 28th 2010.
For the remainder of January and throughout February, Setanta will continue to broadcast normally and will feature its usual line up of top games from the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, Heineken Cup, Magners League and Guinness Premiership.
Commenting on the transaction, Leonard Ryan, Co-Founder of Setanta Sports said “This is a significant milestone in the re-organisation of Setanta Sports, following the acquisition of Setanta’s businesses in Ireland, the US, Canada and Australia in July 2009. Having examined several options for our US business, we concluded that the best course of action for the Group is to exit the US market and to concentrate on other markets where we can be a more substantial player in sports television. This transaction enables us to achieve that objective and to explore new opportunities in other markets.”
Since acquiring the non UK businesses of the Setanta Group in July 2009, several key goals aimed at re-building Setanta into a strong player in the worldwide sports broadcasting business have been achieved, including;
· Re-financing Setanta Ireland in July 2009, followed by renewal of key rights properties such as the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. This business remains profitable and in a strong position in the Irish sports television market
· Continuing growth of Setanta’s business in Canada, which is now at an all time high level of subscribers and delivers significant profitability
· Continuing growth in Setanta’s business in Australia, which has a strong rights portfolio, extensive distribution and is well placed to continue on its impressive growth trajectory
· The launch of Setanta Bet, which goes live next week, representing Setanta’s entry into the online sports gaming market
Setanta’s operations in Canada are not affected in any way by this transaction and will continue to operate under the joint ownership of the Setanta Group and Rogers Communications.