Setanta Enters Administration
Yesterday, having failed to secure the funding needed to keep the UK business going, the UK version of Setanta sports went into administration — or as we call it in America, bankruptcy. Basically, as I write this lawyers and accountants are picking over Setanta UK’s corpse looking for something salvageable.
Supposedly unaffected is Setanta USA, but that’s not entirely true. According to their US web site, Setanta USA still has the rights to broadcast EPL (and whatever else crapola they are shilling) and will continue to do so as it is a separate business. This message is being repeated across all the sites that are not part of Great Britain — Australia and Canada.
For the time being, North American and Antipodean football fans should take some solace in the fact that the Setanta Sports package in our area is still available. I’m not sure how long that will last as we will have to see what the new Administrators of the mother company find as far as how Setanta kept the businesses separated and if there was any funny business. My feeling is that the whole enterprise is going to collapse, after all this is pretty much the same message they gave to the UK customers right before they collapsed “keep buying our product! everything will be ok!”
Irregardless, ESPN has stepped in last week and bought Setanta’s 46 UK games and just today announced that they are going to be setting up a dedicated Football channel in the UK. This is huge news for British and American football fans because it means that A) ESPN is taking the endeavor seriously and plans on dedicating a healthy amount of resources to doing this right. I mean, a dedicated channel means announcers, sponsors, commentary, a whole host of things! And B) it means that I was right about something for once! Not only did I predict that ESPN would take over the rights, but that they would do it up proper. Moreover, the naysayers who predicted that you’d get less coverage were wrong as well, in addition to the two other ESPN channels in the UK, they will be showing games on a third “football only” channel. For those that can afford the £10 monthly charge (and I am by no means glossing over that in these economic times) it means all the football you can handle. For the rest of you it means a day at the local boozer, which ain’t so bad is it?
Even if Setanta International survives the next few months and is able to broadcast games into North America next year (I don’t think they will) the games will be different. They will be ESPN re-broadcasts, folks. This means that Mr. Monchichi hair and his crew of fat tied half-time pundits will probably be replaced with just the Setanta bouncing ball/falling boot commercial running constantly — which will be a relief. I don’t see them maintaining the business as it is and certainly don’t see them able to afford all those pundits salaries just to broadcast in ‘Merica. Hmmm… maybe, just maybe they will go the way that Fox Soccer Channel has gone and they will have some Americans and cut-rate ex-pats spouting nonsense. I wonder if I could get a job? First, I’ll have to expunge the blog of all instances where I called them “Shitanta.”
If Setanta International do collapse, ESPN now looks poised to take over those rights as well and beam games into American and Antipodean homes. Like I said before these rights aren’t cheap and Setanta helped build the audience over here and now we’re hungry for more. We want HD broadcasts, our own dedicated channels, and football coverage that isn’t interrupted by College Handball on Saturday. Given the way they are handling the UK rights, I would be shocked if ESPN didn’t do this right over here as well.
Either way, it will be an interesting next few months as we see how this all plays out.
USA v. Spain
USA! USA USA! So, by some miracle of goal differential, the USA Men’s team advanced in the tiresome injury fest called the Confederations Cup. Man, I hope that the USA team breaks the ankles of all those Spanish players today (11:30am PST)!
Seriously, I actually will be rooting for the USA team to win, because that means Cesc can go home to England and get some rest before we start Arsenal’s next season. I know, blah blah Spain record, blah blah international accolades, blah blah blah. Arsenal need the captain well rested and ready to go for the start of the Summer training session. Last year, Cesc’s disastrous double vacation nearly saw Arsenal slip out of fourth place. So, more than ever we need the captain rested and ready to go at the start of training camp.
I’m surprised anyone wants to buy Ade, much less a “very important team.” How much you wanna bet Ade is a Gooner still next year and this is all just posturing by his agent?
If, as the rumors have it, he’s going to Chelsea I can only say one thing: we’ll throw in a barely used Silvestre to sweeten the deal!
Phil Brown to feel the power of the FA
I will be crying tears of joy when Phil Brown is found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute today. Not only did he claim that the referees were in Arsenal’s pocket, but he lied about Wenger never shaking his hand, and lied again about Fabregas spitting all over everyone. He’s a liar and a cheat and dangit, if the FA doesn’t do something about him criticizing the referees then the whole “Respect Campaign” will have been a farce.*
I will settle for nothing less than Phil Brown being forced into a cage with a rabid Drogba.
Finally, the new web site is coming along
I have started making changes to the official 7amkickoff.com site and things are progressing up there very nicely. If you want to make snarky comments about how it looks feel free, I’m a grown up (today) and I can take it. If however, you know some CSS and want to make actual HELPFUL suggestions, well, that would be great.
See you tomorrow!