Virgin Media Signs Setanta Sports Deal

Virgin Media Signs Setanta Sports Deal

Virgin Media Logo Customers to Virgin Media’s XL basic TV package will now be able to receive six Setanta Sports Channels for free.

From July 26, pay TV customers get live coverage of over 250 showcase events a year, including 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.

From 2008, customers will also get 25 of the 40 televised fixtures from the English FA Cup, a selection of England football Internationals and the Community Shield.

Virgin Media says that over the course of a year, football fans who want to watch all the live televised matches from the Barclay’s Premier League will pay over £110 less with Virgin Media than they would with Sky.

It adds that following changes in the ownership of broadcast rights, the deal also means that, from the start of the new football season, Virgin Media will be the only provider to offer all these matches under a single contract.

Customers of any other Virgin Media TV service who want to add these Setanta channels to their service will be able to do so for £8 a month.

Setanta unveiled the initial 19 fixtures of its 46 live Barclays Premier League games last week (see Setanta Unveils Premier League Football Schedule), having paid around £392 million to secure the rights to screen the matches (see Sky And Setanta Share Remaining Premiership Rights).

The deal marks another stage in the battle between Sky and Virgin Media, with the two parties currently in the courts disputing the price Virgin Media should pay for the carriage of Sky’s basic channel package (see Virgin/Sky Channel Dispute Continues).

Malcolm Wall, CEO of content for Virgin Media, said: “This deal will transform the world of TV sport and makes our XL TV package the best of its kind in the UK.

“When we launched Virgin Media last February, we said we were going to shake things up, provide something unique and give our customers superior offerings. Today we’re making a down payment on our promise by giving our customers the very best sporting action combined with unbeatable value. But this is only the beginning. In terms of both sport and other new high value content, there’s much more to come from Virgin Media.”

Michael O’Rourke, co-founder of Setanta Sports, said: “This deal emphasises Setanta’s determination to make premium sports content available to as many people as possible, at the best value possible.

“Virgin Media’s XL customers will be absolutely delighted to get our sports channels for no additional charge. They will receive 46 exclusively live Premier League games, 60 Scottish Premier League games and all the live US PGA Tour Golf. It is compelling viewing for all sports fans, and the addition of the FA Cup and England internationals next year will make it even better.”

Earlier this week, BT Vision launched its BT Vision Sport service, allowing fans to watch Premier League matches just hours after the game has finished – at a time of their choosing – for £4 a month (see BT Launches Sports Catch-Up Service).

Virgin Media: www.virginmedia.com

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