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More trouble for Setanta
by Ridge Mahoney, January 5th, 2010 7AM



[TV WATCH] Many listings of English Premier League matches and promotional ads for Champions League coverage has been dropped from the broadcast schedules on Setanta Sports North America's Web site amid speculation Setanta may be taken over by Fox Sports International or discontinued.

Setanta's dire financial condition called its future into question last year, yet still it purchased packages of EPL and Champions League matches bought by FSI, which runs Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol in the USA. Setanta also lost an EPL property last year to ESPN, which airs early Saturday games and Monday matches that had been telecast by Setanta in past years, and had to broker for Champions' League rights with FSI, which wrested a three-year deal from the grasp of ESPN last spring.

Listings of Carling Cup games scheduled to air on Setanta Tuesday and Wednesday have not been changed, nor has a time slot for an Arsenal-Bolton match, but Setanta's schedule for Monday, which normally lists replays of EPL games shown during the weekend, is dotted by notations of TBC (to be confirmed). Its airing of taped match coverage as part of the Manchester United and Chelsea team programs has not been affected, and its FA Cup and Scottish Premier League listings are still up.

The head of Setanta's North American operations, Shane O'Rourke, sent out an e-mail Monday announcing the startup of a new company, Premium Sports, with him as its CEO after 14 years at Setanta.

"I am very proud of what we achieved with Setanta and it was very exciting to see our channels launched across North America and the Caribbean," said O'Rourke in the e-mail. "I will remember my time at Setanta fondly and will remember all the great people that made it all happen."

What happens with Setanta may not be known for several days, until its murky financial situation is cleared up.

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