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What is setanta sports doing that is so wrong?

Before I start, maybe I am being naive or missing a point, but I cannot see - although out of principle things are wrong - why they are any more wrong with one TV station than they are another...

Over the past few days, with England having both world cup qualifiers on setanta sports - with this going to be the case with all away games, and plenty of FA cup games and others - I have noticed that they have come in for a hell of a lot of criticism.

But is this really fair and just?

I am sure that I heard the England fans chanting 'we hate setanta' during the game with Andorra at the weekend? A friend and I had been drinking a fair bit but these chants continued throughout the game, and we are both sure that is what was being sung. We could not work out if this was due to the game kicking off late on a Saturday evening due to TV scheduling, the fact that the game was on setanta full stop, or maybe even both?

It appears it is because the game was on setanta full stop...

I say this as I have noticed more and more people around Vital Football complaining that England games should be on terrestrial TV, but to be fair why is what setanta are doing any different to what sky sports had been doing for the past decade or so? And will continue to do!

If I recall until recent years sky sports was the only place to watch most of England's games, and unless I am mistaken - and the bank has been direct debiting me, and thousands of others, each month for years - sky does not come for free! And that is putting aside the thought that not all of us even have sky!

Ok, maybe you have to pay a 'subscription' to get setanta, but they are hardly going to let you have the package for free are they! Sky has not been letting you have sky sports and the premier league and international games that go with it for free have they, and although most might have sky these days not all of us do, so it has not been as if 'all of us' would have been able to watch England games for free anyway is it...

At the end of the day the simple truth is things have 'come down to money', setanta offered the highest price for the right to show England games so instead of blaming them - and I know I hate the way TV dictates football these days as much as the next person - should we not be blaming the FA, or whoever it is that sold the England rights to the highest bidder?

They could have accepted a package - if there was one - from the BBC at a lesser rate, but they are the ones that have sold out. It just so happens that setanta, which comes with a subscription, are the ones the FA - or again as said, whoever sells the TV rights - sold out to, so is it not they that should shoulder most of, or at least share the brunt of the discontent?

Maybe we really are 'just a nation or moaners', as the British are often portrayed? People say that is what we are good at - maybe it is true? Recently more and more people have moaned and groaned that 'England does not mean anything to them these days', or at least 'as much', and/or 'they do not watch them anymore anyway' - so why moan when having the option to watch is taken away, not that it has technically been 'an option' that was viable to each and everyone of us - those with a TV when on terrestrial TV - for donkies years anyway...


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 11 2008

Time: 11:22AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Intersting though that there is no coverage of action/goals on Sky, even 24 hours after the event. If it was on Sky to start with, the BBC would show highlights later. I wonder if this is part of the deal?
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11/09/2008 11:42:00

A nice article Rug, something on a topic at a different angle. I would like to point out though that you get Setanta free with Virgin so I am not complaining. Plus it is a lot cheaper for people with sky to pay out the £10 a month for Setanta than me having to pay £18 a month to get Sky Sports.
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11/09/2008 11:46:00

The biggest problem is Setanta's refusal to sell a highlights package to the BBC. With Sky you at least get to see the highlights on BBC or ITV but Setanta were apparently asking for way over the odds for the highlights package so kept it to themselves. It is my firm belief that certain sporting packages should either be free to air so everyone has the ability to see them or shoul be able to see highlights on free to air. The governement apparently agrees as it has ringfenced certain sporting events, it appears however that the qualifiers were not one of these. Which seems a bit odd as football is the biggest sport in this country (I believe) and if we don't get to the finals the qualifiers are the only time we get to watch them competitively.
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11/09/2008 11:50:00

i didnt know about the refusal to sell a highlights package at a fair price - so on that thought setanta are wrong, but again to a degree that is the 'greed' factor of football isnt it... then again whoever sold the rights to the england games did not need to sell to the highest bidder did they? granted, they always would - that greed thing again - but its not exclusively setanta's fault, know what i mean?
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11/09/2008 12:05:00

I got Sentanta at the start of last season for a trial as its non-subcription to go hand in hand with sky because of the new football tv deals that where signed, a year and a bit later and im still happy with it even more so now that the England games are on it so is the F.A Cup this season. Some people fork out £100's on sky HD with only around 12 active HD channels, fair play it thats your thing but i'd rather pay £10 a month for Sentanta and have tons of live football and tons of other interesting sports.
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11/09/2008 12:07:00

Tip of the iceberg. You want prime stuff, you pay prime cash. How said it had to be fair.
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11/09/2008 12:08:00

Good article and I heard the chants at the Andorra game and asked myself the same question. The prevarication of the terestrial channels allows anyone who wants to make a quick buck to splash out and hope to sell to the poor public. BBC have a Parliament channel so why not a Sports channel? But that still bodes the question why hate Setanta?
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11/09/2008 12:17:00

I'll tell you why - because it new, because its change. If you want to watch live football on sentanta then you need to pay for it by either adding it to sky through non-subscription payments of £10 on top of your normal sky fee's or by having virgin and recieving it for free. If people are upset by this then dont blame sentanta as they are just a business like any other, if people want to blame anyone then blame the people who sold the package to the highest bidder in the first place.
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11/09/2008 12:26:00

HAHAHA just noticed that Sentanta advertising is splashed all over this fantastic website!!! :-)
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11/09/2008 12:39:00

im just as happy as sneakay on this one, i get it for free on virgin. setanta is just like any business, trying to make money. no-one bid as much as setanta, and no-one bid enough for the highlights programme, so that explains everything. last night setanta had a free highlights programme for the general public.
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11/09/2008 13:04:00

But have you noticed that the link is broken?
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11/09/2008 13:04:00

I have Sultana, on BT Vision. Happy enough (except the pic is very poor quality) So if people don't like it, don't buy it. If you want two hundred odd games, get Sky (and pay). If you want another 40 odd games plus England and the FA cup get Sultana. Since when was it the sole preserve of Sky to have everything? Tommo; you're right, it's also because it's new and it's change. Do you know what? I hate Sky! All they've done to ********ise our game. Still!, can't live without them now. So it looks like i'm stuck with the World as it is. Best we all accept it, because i don't think any of them will be going away in the near future. P.S. Bet most of you hate 5 more for moving next weeks game to 6 o'clock. Imagine that...5, with enough clout to get a European game moved! What is the World coming too?
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11/09/2008 13:29:00

The only issue I have with Setanta is that the coverage last night was woeful. I'd imagine it was down to them using Croatian pictures but they'd often pan off to shots of the crowd whilst the ball was in play and in some cases when we were in a good attacking position. I don't mind it too much cause it's an extra excuse to go down the pub!! At the end of the day, Setanta are no worse than Sky but because Sky has been established for so long people almost see it as part of the furniture. Setanta is new and unfortunately a lot of people out there don't embrace change. I'm not sure why there is such a difference in cost to subscribe to Setanta between all the service providers though.
Toffee Joe
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11/09/2008 13:38:00

My own personal view is that if one channel has the rights to exclusively show the games then all other channels should be able to show the highlights. My collection of Pompey games from last season was pretty comprehensive but for games that Setanta showed i was forced to rely on the usual 2 mins of bbc highlights. I'm only interested in the games that Pompey play in so it's not worth me spending an extra £10 a month on top of my already horrendous sky subscription for 2 or 3 games a season.
Steve C
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11/09/2008 13:43:00

Certainly beats Sky Sports and their annoyingly irritating pundit team. It's a god send.
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11/09/2008 14:46:00

Because first and foremost england games should be on terrestrial telly. But another point is most people who have setanta have sky aswell nobody wants to pay so much for sky but most just deal with it because the product is so good. With Setanta you have to pay an extra tenner which is scandalous, not as scandalous as this article though.
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11/09/2008 15:27:00

I blame the FA for greed. I strongly believe that competitive games involving the NATIONAL team should be available to all on terrestrial television. Like other sporting events such as Wimbledon, the FA cup final, the Grand National and the Olympics, England games, certainly those of any importance, should be included in "the crown jewells" and free for the entire population to view, regardless of whether they can afford or chose to afford Sultana, Sky or bleedin' Sputnick TV. Simple really - the FA sold fans down the river again and has gone the wrong way about getting the public at large behind the England team. Avid football fans like most of us here will fork out for a sports or footie package but the England team is the nation's team and not purely for the entertainment of a relatively small minority of the population.
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11/09/2008 15:40:00

In fairnes about the quality aspect I was listening to a guy on the Quay on Wednesday night and he said that the host country supply the link and Setanta would pay to receive that link. I did happen to be channel hopping the freeview channels and came across Setanta news which did show all the goals from that evenings World Cup qualifiers, so at least that was something I suppose. Must say I do feel that our National team games should be on terestrial TV. I can and do subscribe to Sky, but others can't afford to bareley pay the normal TV license fee and for that reason all England games should ba able to be viewed at no cost.
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11/09/2008 15:44:00

On a personal note - I feel that national football should be on terestrial TV. The TV licence fee is surely enough to at least give us the highlights of the countries biggest sport? However that's not why people hate setanta. The premiership had previosly only been on sky. However they decided, that in order to have more people watching it, they would make a new, smaller package, to sell to terestrial TV. Great idea in principal - crap in practice. You cant discriminate between free-to-air and pay-tv stations - so setanata apearead, and bought the tv rights. Then, to make things worse, they then spent far too much, and in an effort to re-coup some of the mony, they are refusing to sell th highlights for a reasonable price. In the past, if you wanted to watch the premiership, you got sky, and that was that. now, you may need to get setanta too - and that is just ripping people off, no-one wants to have to pay twice for what they used to only have to pay once for - so in the end "everyone hates setanta"
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11/09/2008 17:31:00

Thanks to last night's result I guess that a lot more people may end up sunscribing to Setanta (hardly seemed worth it before, did it?!) but if not then perhaps Setanta could do a deal with Sky as they seem to have done with Virgin. This is my first time post by the way - I joined the site back in June but just got round to posting. How lazy is that?!
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11/09/2008 18:13:00

I blame Sky for it all, if they didn't try and franchise everything it wouldn't have gone this far, Setanta are getting a bit of payback
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11/09/2008 18:55:00

Welcome Squee, so lazy in fact that you forgot to put the ze on the end of your name! ;-)
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11/09/2008 19:42:00

According to figures it cost Setanta £5 for each viewer who watched the game last night! Approx 1,000,000 watched it and the fee they paid to televise it was £5,000,000
Report Abuse
11/09/2008 20:32:00

I always like to record Pompey's games on football first, but if the game is on sultana they don't have it on sky this is very annoying to say the least. also to be fair sky have the best camera work by far, also took on England games when BBC & ITV were happy to show highlights at 10pm you rarely saw live England games before sky apart from the finals.
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11/09/2008 20:42:00

the fact that premiership rights were only sold to one company is considered one of the reasons that the premiership got more money than other countries equivilents, who sold there rights in seperate packages. it meant that people could get all there games in one, making it easier, and in most cases cheaper for each individual - so they sold more (and the cycle continues). Sky has done great (or bad) things for the premiership - setanta is breaking it up. it is probably the only time when a monopoly works... hmmm...
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11/09/2008 21:15:00

Yeah welcome Squee... Join in you'll get a warm welcome from everybody..
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11/09/2008 21:29:00

As for my opinion... I just think that's it's criminal that we have to pay additional money to watch an England game.... when the company in question uses advertising for revenue... BBC.. no adverts.. I'd pay.. Sentana/SKY adverts I won't... I'#m not being taken for a mug and being ripped off by some corporate body after my money at every turn any more... right or wrong I've had enough of it............. until Pompey are on of course ;)
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11/09/2008 21:33:00

Don't want to pay an extra £10 each month. let me have access to individual Pompey Games at 2 or 3 quid a throw and i'll be happy, i won't be watching it any other time anyway.
Steve C
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12/09/2008 06:22:00

The fact is that, despite Sultana's greed, surely the FA are culpable here; they sold the rights to the NATIONAL team to a minority TV company with only 1.5m viewers. They should at least have insisted that Sultana sold the highlights package to the highest bidder - regardless of the level of the bid. As one fan said, the initials FA just about sum up how much regard the governing body of football in England has for the fans.
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12/09/2008 09:35:00

Good points. If we don't like it we could all stick together and cancel all our subscriptions!
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12/09/2008 10:36:00

...assuming we bothered with subscriptions in the first place!
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12/09/2008 17:25:00

Setanta had banned all the unofficial highlights of the game within 24 hours, it took me about half an hour to eventually find the goals on an iraqi page!
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13/09/2008 00:57:00

Thanks for the welcome! Out of interest, does anyone know what the latest is with Mr Westwood? Unfortunately I couldn't watch the game yesterday and noticed a distinct lack of drums and bugles from the Pompey highlights on Goals on Sunday this morning...
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14/09/2008 21:53:00

he didnt have the drums and bells, apparently he had teddy bears instead, or a similar story. i couldnt see him, but didnt look too hard. and with setanta, they are a fairly new company, they want to make money, so they bid for the game successfully to boost viewing figures. people want to watch their country so inevitably some will pay to subscribe. why would they pay that much and then allow the highlights to be shown for a small amount of money straight after the game on a free channel? they would lose viewers, and hence lose money. by delaying the highlights, they ensure that they get viewers, and make sure that next time someone bids more for a highlights package, or more for the whole thing in the first place.
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15/09/2008 00:26:00

Teddy bears? Nice. I guess he smells a bit like a bear. I seem to remember seeing one of his entourage with a giant toy bear once at an away game and wondering if they had to buy a ticket for it. On second thoughts that could have been one those funny dreams I have.
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15/09/2008 14:27:00


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