Setanta has gone, ESPN has stepped in, and the BBC has widened its net. But what does this all mean for the new season – who is showing what?
Following its demise in the summer, Setanta’s packages are still yet to all find new homes. Its Premier League coverage – 46 early Saturday and Monday night games – was unsurprisingly one of the first to be bought – ESPN its final destination. Available on most of the satellite and cable packages and spearheaded by Ray Stubbs, the American sports network seems to be putting together an exciting array of football over the coming year. In addition to the Premier League, they will be showing Scottish Premier, Serie A, Bundesliga, Eredivisie, Portuguese Liga, Russian Premier League and MLS.
Sky’s coverage remains the same as last season, with Premier League and Champions League games the number one attraction. It will also continue to show Scottish Premier and La Liga football, as well as a selection of games from the Coca Cola leagues. The good news for anyone interested in the football league is that Sky will not be its only home this season. The BBC will be showing 10 games over the season, but more importantly has acquired the rights to the highlights, meaning Match of the Day will be followed the Football League Show – with all the goals from the Championship, League One and League Two. Plus, all goals will be available to view on the BBC’s website from two days after the game.
ITV remains the home for the FA Cup, Champions League and England games, although Setanta’s package of home friendly matches is still in limbo. Its other package still to be acquired is the Blue Square Premier which, for anyone who became entranced by the sheer competitiveness and surprisingly high quality football last season, is an issue that needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. Eurosport and ESPN are both supposed admirers so an announcement will hopefully be made soon.
With more football than ever on the box and the opening round of league fixtures already upon us, we hope you have all made your decisions and have your dishes and cable boxes ready for this season in what will be another marathon of football.