Virgin Media unveils new free sports channel



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Virgin Media unveils new free sports channel

Virgin Media is to launch a new free TV channel and web site as the cable operator seeks to build its offering for sports fans. The TV channel is being launched in conjunction with Setanta Sports, and will be called Setanta Sports News. All of Virgin Media's 3m digital TV subscribers will be able to access the channel at no additional cost.

Michael O'Rourke, co-founder of Setanta Sports, said: "Setanta Sports News will engage directly with fans on their level and bring them stories and issues that really matter to them. It will be a powerful new voice in sports news. With a full sp'ectrum of live location reports, interviews, studio-based experts and discussion shows, this is a channel with genuine appeal to real sport fans."

Malcolm Wall, Virgin Media's CEO of content added: "Whether you live for sport or just want to stay in touch with what's going on, this new channel will offer something new and different. In terms of both content and editorial approach, we're setting out to break the mould of TV sports reporting and I'm confident Setanta Sports News will soon be on the 'favourites' menu of all armchair sports fans."

Meanwhile, launching on Monday is, offering highlights from all Barclays Premier League, Coca-Cola Championship, League 1 and League 2 matches. The site will be open to all web users.

Last week Virgin Media and Setanta Sports announced that Setanta Sports' six channels will be included in Virgin Media's XL basic package for the first time, giving Virgin Media's cable subscribers 46 live games from the Barclays Premier League, 60 matches from the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League and the US PGA Tour golf, as well as European League football, rugby and horse racing from around the country.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media's High Court case against BSkyB is set to last at least a year. A timetable for the case was approved this week, with a pre-trial hearing set for November. A judgement is not thought likely before 2009. The dispute centres on fees Sky sought for its basic channels; Virgin refused to pay what it said in February was a substantial increase and Sky's basic channels were removed in March. Sky says the Virgin action is "without foundation".

Regards Satdude.