Guardian: ESPN and Setanta to team up against FSC for US PL Rights

Discussion in 'TV, Satellite & Radio' started by unoriginal_name, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. unoriginal_name

    unoriginal_name Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    The following was included today in the British newspaper The Guardian as part of their digger column:

    Setanta's sucker punch

    ESPN and Setanta are expected to team up in an effort to prise the live rights to Premier League football in the US from Fox television. The move would put Setanta, Sky's main rival in the UK pay-tv market, in yet more acrimonious competition with a Rupert Murdoch business.

    The blurb goes on to talk about how the duo may also cooperate over the last two packages of UK television rights which will be going up for auction later today.

    The two have certainly collaborated in the US in the past (between the Champions League and the broadband rights to the Championship and Carling Cup). So, does this broadcast partnership for the Premier League in the US work for you?

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/feb/05/dwain-chambers (third blurb down)


  2. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 1999
    Location:
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Country:
    United States
    So would Setanta still be getting the prime games then with ESPN Classic taking what viewers on FSC are accustomed to watching?

    What would this mean for FSC?
  3. Sachsen

    Sachsen Member+

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2003
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, Okla.
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Country:
    United States
    I used to have FSC. I dropped it about a year ago when I realized that I didn't care to pay an extra $20 a month for the "privilege" of watching Wigan vs West Brom at 6:00 am on a Saturday morning.

    I hope ESPN does get EPL. I might watch then.
  4. Damon_D.

    Damon_D. New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Location:
    MD
    how about Liverpool vs. Chelsea last Sunday at 1100? or ManU Everton last Saturday at 1230?

    or 4 Serie A games every weekend, including all games of the big 3, plus weekday games when played.

    I don't pay near $20, who are you with?


  5. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 1999
    Location:
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Country:
    United States
    My cable company includes it as part of a "digital basic" package which is approximately $8. Of course, in order to get the package, you need the box which is approx $8. Add on more money if you want the DVR option.

    In my case without FSC, one could potentially drop the box as well. In fact, the way it's structured, you'd have to HAVE the box AND the digital basic package for access to any premium.

    Still, $20 a month is a good stretch, as is the "6 AM" bit. A 10 AM game in Ohio means a 9 AM game in Oklahoma. Because Daylight Savings Time begins and ends at different times in England and the USA, at worst, it's a 8 AM CT kickoff.
  6. unoriginal_name

    unoriginal_name Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Obviously, any attempt to answer these questions would be speculation at this point, but if I were to guess, ESPN will want some of the matches now on Setanta. I have a feeling the Monday game would move to ESPN along with the early Saturday kickoff, while the late Saturday game would move to Setanta (in order to free ESPN for their college football/basketball commitments). Not sure about the Sunday kickoffs, those might just stay in place.

    As for what it would mean to FSC, it'd be bad in my mind. But it depends on how soon this ends. If this change is made quickly enough, FSC could possibly make a move on GolTV's rights for either La Liga or the Bundesliga, which I've heard run out this season (don't take my word for it, I may be wrong), in order to fill the gaps. Again, that depends on when the dust is settled on everything.
  7. blackhornet

    blackhornet Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Country:
    United States
    Wow - I'd guess that the best matchups (probably mostly big-4 matches) play on some ESPN network regardless of the time and the rest trickle down to Setanta.

    What does it mean for FSC? Perhaps a year or two in the Serie A wilderness until La Liga comes up for renewal (I think it's a year off the EPL rights renewal schedule). I suppose they can do Bundesliga and promote the US internationals there ...
  8. maturin

    maturin Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Anybody else think FSC would sink like a stone if EPL games came to be shown on ESPN? Nobody would pay the extra money for it.
  9. Chims

    Chims Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Roslyn, PA
    Yes - if the EPL moves to ESPN/Setanta then FSC would probably be history, unless they were able to pry away La Liga from GolTV whenever those rights come up again for bidding. Then I could see them sticking around and showing Serie A and Bundesliga (if they could get that, too). GolTV would be done, then.

    I have read a lot on these boards that EPL and La Liga are the only European leagues that make any money on US TV, and I tend to think that is true.
  10. corolla

    corolla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Club:
    Olympique de Marseille
    Country:
    France
    I always got the vibe that GOLtv will be fine if they can continue to show latin american leagues. I think the Brazilian League is an example of where the channel is heading. In my ideal world this is the lineup of leagues on each channel and they would all survive.

    ESPN-EPL
    Setanta- EPL/Ligue1/SPL/CocaCola Championship/Eredivisie
    FSC- La Liga/Serie A/Bundesliga/MLS
    GOL- Brazil/Columbia/Maybe grab Argentinian
  11. Chims

    Chims Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Roslyn, PA
    That would be a fantastic setup - I hope it can happen.
  12. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 1999
    Location:
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Country:
    United States
    7:30 AM ET - ESPN Classic (ESPN is full with SportsCenter and ESPN2 has stuff that they probably can't/won't pre-empt.)

    10 AM - Setanta and ??????

    Noon AM ET - Setanta


    Monday would be great. I remember when FSC had the Monday games and there were usually some good games then.
  13. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 1999
    Location:
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Country:
    United States
    Fewer people would WANT it, but you'd still have to subscribe because it would still be in that same package. In my area, if you want premium movie channels (HBO, Cinemax, others), then you're usually stuck subscribing to a package that includes FSC.

    If it's on a sports pack, there may be fewer of those subscriptions, but if you have Gol TV on that same package, then you'd still be stuck with FSC.
  14. Call me Ralph.

    Call me Ralph. New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Location:
    New England
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Country:
    United States
    On many carriers, FSC is bundled in with the other digital tier sports channels; I think I pay something like $7.95 extra to Comcast to get FSC and GolTV (and a bunch of other channels I don't watch, such as Fox college sports channels, NBA channel, etc). No one who is a real sports fan is going to drop that package unless the entire package is useless to them. So I wouldn't expect FSC to lose many subs if they lose EPL; there's a reason why cable companies bundle channels.

    FSC will do fine in the long run; even if they go through a rough patch after losing EPL to ESPN, they have Uncle Murdoch bankrolling them, so FSC isn't going anywhere. They'll lose some viewership for a while until they get La Liga, the Bundesliga, and other things to fill the void left by the departure of EPL. FSC will be fine.

    It does make me wonder how Fox Football Fone-In will do, though, if their channel isn't showing the EPL matches that Steve & Nick spend all their time talking about. I doubt they will suddenly develop a lot of interest in La Liga or the Bundesliga. :)

    On the whole I think this will be a good thing, as ESPN will give much more exposure of EPL to American sports fans than FSC ever could. On the negative side, Comcast still doesn't carry Setanta, in fact most cable carriers still don't. And satellite is not an option for me.
  15. DM8512

    DM8512 New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    That would be cool if FSC were able to nab La Liga and Bundesliga since I don't have GolTV. I don't think the coverage changes much if you swap FSC's live games with ESPN and I don't have Setanta, so I'm just guessing here:

    Setanta gets the early game, ESPN2/Setanta gets the 7am PST/10am EST coverage, and ESPN Classic gets the later game. I would guess Classic gets the 8am/11am Sunday game, especially during NFL Sundays. I could see these games moving to ESPN after football season. Monday could depend on the matchup(Setanta or Classic).
  16. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 1999
    Location:
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Country:
    United States
    Wishful dreaming as for that 10 AM ET Saturday game. ESPN2 has various outdoor shows at that time. Maybe they'd be willing to go to Classic, since they're taped anyway, and put the live soccer on ESPN2.

    That's probably the only option other than ESPN Classic at 10 AM ET Saturdays.

    I don't see ESPN2 showing EPL in HD. Maybe they'd show any game in HD involving two of the "Big Four", but I don't see it happening on a regular basis.
  17. blackhornet

    blackhornet Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Country:
    United States
    Thing with Classic is ... they are only allowed a certain amount of live tv per some carriage agreements with various cable operators. So I could see them doing a delayed viewing of one of the 10am ET games, but to commit to 1 or 2 live games every week? I don't know.
  18. huhe888

    huhe888 Red Card

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    I am very skeptical of the story as told in the Guardian.

    Reasons:

    1. Neither the alleged ESPN/Setanta alliance nor NewsCorp/FOX Soccer Channel are willing to pay the approximately $30 million/year that the FAPL is asking for exclusive U.S. video rights to EPL.

    2. Setanta is not yet self-sufficient and still needs to raise capital in perhaps the most difficult environment for venture financing in over 70 years. Setanta's U.S. channel in particular isn't making money yet because it has very limited cable TV carriage.

    3. Disney/ESPN has already demonstrated that it is NOT willing to lose money on EPL, having walked away from the bidding for the U.K. video rights when the prices went higher that what Disney/ESPN was willing to pay.

    4. Disney's financial performance in the October-December 2008 quarter missed everyone's expectations including Disney's internal projections. Every Disney unit including ESPN, Inc. is cutting expenses and laying off workers. Disney's conservative culture and financial discipline will NOT allow ESPN, Inc. to lose money on a "complementary" product such as EPL, a product which ESPN, Inc. does NOT need in the U.S. market.

    5. Even NewsCorp/FOX Soccer Channel has a "threshold of pain" when it comes to the U.S. video rights to EPL because FOX Soccer Channel is now a mature business with very limited subscriber growth (about 3-5% a year). In the last U.S. video rights deal for EPL, that "threshold of pain" was $9.5 million/year.

    My bet:

    Disney/ESPN, Setanta, and NewsCorp/FOX Soccer Channel will ultimately have to form a 3-way "cartel" and bid for the U.S. video rights to EPL as a single unit, offering perhaps as little as $25 million/year to the FAPL, in order to keep the U.S. video rights fee to EPL managable and keep the losses to a minimum.
  19. matty311

    matty311 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Club:
    AFC Ajax

    Ummmmm.....no.
    #1-Setanta doesn't show Eredivise games in N.America anymore, although they do on their Irish and British channels.
    #2-If FSC had La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga, one of those leagues would get backhanded on coverage. Even when Goltv had La Liga and Serie A two years ago, La Liga got prime coverage and alot of Serie A games were on delay.
    #3-I don't think Goltv could survive with the Brazilian and Colombian leagues as their flagship leagues, and I dont see TYC and Fox losing their grip on Argentinian soccer.
    #4-Setanta without the Premier League is dead, who is going to pay $15 a month for Ligue 1 and mid table SPL games?
    I just don't think there i any real money to be made for soccer rights in North America, yet it seems people are optimistic that I will rival the NFL or the NBA someday. If ESPN picked up EPL rights they would show big matches and subliscence the rest out. Can you see Wigan v. Hull City ahead of anything ESPN currently show?
    Also, I think the current climate of 3 soccercentric channels in the U.S spreads things too thin, there was a better balance before Setanta came on the scene. Soccer will always be a niche sport in N.America, and I would rather have a wider variety of leagues available to watch instead of everyone spending all their money on jacked up premier league prices they helped to overinflate, which would no doubt come at the expense affording any other leagues(i.e Setanta not renewing Eredivise rights in N.America due to the EPL and Ligue 1 bleeding them dry.)
  20. corolla

    corolla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Club:
    Olympique de Marseille
    Country:
    France
    Ummmmmm, learn how to read. I never said this was what was going to happen, just an ideal situation based on what I would like. I suppose I'm not entitled to do that though.


  21. MasterShake29

    MasterShake29 Member+

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Country:
    United States
    Before Setanta came along, two EPL games a week were on PPV, and the early Sunday game was virtually never shown live.
  22. matty311

    matty311 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Ok, you are entitled, I was just saying GolTV wouldnt survive with no European leagues and that I thought that 3 channels were more harm to soccer viewers than good.

    How did we ever survive with only 7 EPL matches a wknd???? But the sad thing is that most people would rather watch Bolton-Stoke City than anything from any other league in the world.
  23. corolla

    corolla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Club:
    Olympique de Marseille
    Country:
    France
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion as well. I tend to disagree. While I feel that GOLtv would suffer greatly without it, I do think they could survive without La Liga. I feel like Goltv is a Spanish language channel first and foremost. If they can appeal to large number of Central and South Americans who watch the channel then they might be okay with the Brazilian and Columbian leagues.
  24. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Location:
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Country:
    United States
    Depends on the demographic. I'd love to see some actual statistics, but my personal experience has been that Hispanic fans prefer La Liga and Serie A to the EPL. But that's purely anecdotal.
  25. AndyMead

    AndyMead BjgSoccer Muderator

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 1999
    Location:
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    The ECG ran an interview (by Dan Loney) with Fox's Ed Derse many years ago, and I had several conversations with the man myself.

    That was right after FSC dropped the Italian league. Apparently the Italian league was demanding a rights fee for the U.S. that was way out of proportion to what FSC could charge for carriage and sponsorships. The Bundesliga went through a similar, but not as pronounced, period.

    The non EPL leagues in Europe see the fees paid for the EPL and they think that that is what they're worth in the U.S.

    Frankly there are only two foreign league properties that are really worth having (financially) in the U.S.: The EPL and Mexico. And the Mexican league is a mess right now with each team basically controlling their own rights. Mexico Primera games show up on at least five different U.S. outlets (Univision family, Telemundo, ESPN Deportes, TV Azteca, Fox Sports en Espanol).

Share This Page