The news about Fox Soccer Channel going to HD is no surprise and fits well with "the Don's" announcement that all 2010 MLS matches will be broadcast in HD. It will involve the launch of a new channel Fox Soccer Plus which goes live on March 1st but isn't their HD channel, it adds more EPL viewing options along with the somewhat pricey FoxSoccer.tv, I am simply waiting for the final announcement of FSC HD's launch date. So how can little old FSC be adding another channel while the MLS main partner ESPN can't even figure out how to show the EPL and La Liga matches they own rights to let alone treat MLS with any respect (a topic for another day)?
It is easy as FSC took the opportunity to purchase the US rights from struggling Setanta, here are the details from the recent press release:
New York, NY, January 27th, 2010 – Setanta Sports has today announced that it has reached an agreement with Fox Soccer Channel to transfer select programming rights, including many premium soccer and rugby events. Fox Soccer Channel will acquire these rights effective March 1, 2010.
Setanta Sports also announced that it will cease broadcasting its channel in the United States and the Caribbean on February 28th 2010.
For the remainder of January and throughout February, Setanta will continue to broadcast normally and will feature its usual line up of top games from the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, Heineken Cup, Magners League and Guinness Premiership.
Commenting on the transaction, Leonard Ryan, Co-Founder of Setanta Sports said "This is a significant milestone in the re-organisation of Setanta Sports, following the acquisition of Setanta’s businesses in Ireland, the US, Canada and Australia in July 2009. Having examined several options for our US business, we concluded that the best course of action for the Group is to exit the US market and to concentrate on other markets where we can be a more substantial player in sports television. This transaction enables us to achieve that objective and to explore new opportunities in other markets."
This is great news for EPL and Rugby fans in the US.
OFF MY SOAPBOX