Setanta Sports looks to break BSkyB subscription dominance

By Kevin Hilton
English football is in the close season right now, with no competitive
matches being played, but the game does not drop out of the spotlight.
There is speculation over player transfers, an on-going corruption
scandal and the two main sports broadcasters jockeying for position.
In
its latest bid to break the dominance of BSkyB, Setanta Sports is
offering three months free subscription to new customers of its
Freeview services. Setanta Sports 1 began broadcasting on the
free-to-air digital terrestrial platform in March last year and both
companies have been keen to lure viewers away from the
satellite-delivered Sky Sports channels.
New Freeview products
capable of receiving Setanta go on sale online and in shops around the
UK on July 24. This gives the broadcaster additional outlets for its
coverage of English Premier League football, which its currently shares
with Sky, the recently acquired rights to the FA Cup, boxing and US PGA
golf.
The Setanta on Freeview service is subject to a 14.99
connection charge but the broadcaster is hoping the three months free,
combined with coverage of big matches, will tempt people away from Sky.
Among the games to be shown live are the FA Community Shield clash on
August 10 between the Premier League Champions, Manchester United, and
Portsmouth, winners of the FA Cup. The season proper starts on August
16, with Setanta broadcasting the game between Liverpool and Sunderland.
BSkyB
appears unconcerned by this marketing push and is not offering special
deals to win new customers. A spokesman for Sky Sports says that not
only did the channel have more Premier League games than Setanta, the
“quality” of what it has is better, with the big derby matches and
clashes between the key teams.