BSkyB faces challenge in securing British Premiership football rights

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

BSkyB, the UK television broadcasting and transmission company, faces a serious rival bid from Setanta Sports for the rights to broadcast Premiership football. BSkyB, which dominates the satellite TV market, has held the rights to the broadcast Premier League games since 1992. They paid £1.02bn for its current three year contract.

Setanta has approached the managing director of BSkyB, Trevor East, with the intention of luring him to Setanta to lead the acquisition of sports rights. Mr East, who's contract runs out soon, has not yet made a decision, but should he decide to sign a contract with the Irish station, it would be a massive boost to their ambitions.

Setanta initially started out by broadcasting GAA games to Irish people living abroad particularly in the US. Today, backed by an investment by AIG, it is pursuing an ambitious plan to grow its business - it currently broadcasts the Scottish Premier League and earlier this week it bought control of North American Sports Network. North American Sports Network broadcasts baseball, NFL football, basketball and Nascar motor racing outside the US. Also in the planning stages is a European sports station for the US market.