Setanta Sports is launching a new pay-TV sports channel

Satdude

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Setanta Sports is launching a new pay-TV sports channel

Setanta Sports is launching a pay-TV sports channel aimed at Australian homes, the first challenger to Fox Sports since the collapse of the Seven Network’s C7 in 2001.

The channel will join the Foxtel platform on October 9 under the open access regime, whereby Setanta can join the platform but Foxtel does not have to sell Setanta as part of its service. Foxtel subscribers who want to watch Setanta will have a direct contract with the broadcaster.

Foxtel offers nine sports channels as part of its package, including three Fox Sports channels and Fox Sports News. The platform is using the Setanta deal to trumpet that the regime – modified in a March 2007 deal with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – is successful. The modifications provided better access to Foxtel’s EPG and revised access pricing.

Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams said: “The access agreement with Setanta shows that our Special Access Undertaking works. Foxtel provides open access on terms that are fair to both Foxtel and access seekers as the agreement with Setanta demonstrates.”

Seven Network recently lost a court battle over the collapse of C7, which failed to gain carriage on Foxtel. That was before the open access regime was introduced in 2003.

Setanta already has services in Ireland, the UK and the US. The Australian version will offer international football including some qualifying matches for Euro2008; Scottish, German and Italian league football; programming from some UK club channels including Manchester United and Chelsea; Six Nations rugby union; and England home internationals and premier league rugby; as well as Gaelic football, cricket and boxing.

A closed-circuit network via the Globecast platform on the Optus B3 satellite started to offer pay-per-view programming to pubs and clubs in 1998. Setanta Sports Channel Australia was then launched as a full-time sports channel for venues in 2005.

The channel will also join the Austar platform for regional viewers in November.

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