Friday, March 30, 2007

ITV and Setanta score hollow FA cup rights victory?

The BBC and Sky have lost the rights to screen exclusive live FA Cup rights and England games from 2008-2012, and there's been talk of a behind the scenes stitch up, but the FA's Brian Barwick has denied this stating that the bidding process was fair and above board.

On the face of it, this looks like a big blow for the BBC and Sky, it's actually probably more of a blow for the BBC, because Setanta are a satellite broadcaster which means Sky will still be involved as they supply the technology, which means Sky will be still be in the loop and earning revenues.

I'm also slightly surprised about the figures, the new deal will generate a staggering 42% increase on the current deal. Quite how ITV and Setanta will make this pay would make interesting reading. Football fans haven't forgotten the doomed ITV digital deal, which collapsed becuase the broadcaster massively overpaid to secure the deal. It actually makes you wonder if Sky are allowing the same thing to happen again. Murdoch's machine is a slick operation and I for one doubt they'd be outbid unless they wanted it to happen. Could Sky actually be giving Setanta just enough rope to hang themselves? Time will tell.

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