Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday night football

Finally, someone has Sky by the balls, or some of them at least, as Setanta says it plans to put Premiership football on Freeview for just £11 a month.

Before Sky came to dominate top flight football, Monday night was a big draw and it can be so again. The move will put Premiership football back on terrestrial TV for the first time since 1992. That’s 15 years -- it’s amazing with what people can get away with -- and about time too.

Setanta snapped up the rights to screen 46 live English Premier League matches each season last year in a three-year £392m deal, kicking off from August 2007.

Sky might still have the majority of the games, taking four of the six Premiership packages, available, but making football available for a reasonable price could have a real impact.

It could, if pushed right, turn plenty of subscribers away from Sky and break its dominance of the game.

Sky's premium package costs around £40 a month, as part of a bigger deal. Most people do not want to fork out such almost £500 a year, but £130 is another matter.

Setanta bosses Leonard Ryan and Michael O'Rourke, said in Observer: "When the BBC has scheduled live FA Cup games at this time it's enjoyed very good viewing figures. And there's no reason why Monday nights can't be just as strong as they were 10 years ago. We may not have Chelsea v Liverpool or Man Utd v Arsenal [as Sky did on the weekend of 20 and 21 January], but we can guarantee 10 matches for each club every year."

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