Rugby deal helps Setanta dominate Scottish sports coverage

Dublin-based pay-per-view satellite broadcaster Setanta Television is strengthening its new-found hold on sport in Scotland.

In the same week it launched its extensive live coverage of Scottish Premier League soccer, the broadcaster revealed that it is also set to clinch a deal with the Scottish Rugby Union to cover the Celtic League.

This will effectively give it a monopoly of live broadcasting of major professional team sport in Scotland.

Setanta is already providing the Old Firm’s own TV channels – Celtic TV and Rangers TV – which are now available to around 10m digital homes in the UK on satellite and cable, with plans in the works for overseas distribution.

The rugby deal will mean Setanta showing home matches involving Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders – adding to an existing arrangement with the Irish Rugby Football Union to show games from Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.

Working with Scottish independent broadcasters IWC Media, part owned by Kirsty Wark and a 25 per cent stakeholder in SPL Live, executive producer Colin Davidson has a minimum of 12 cameras for every match and heads a core staff of 12 journalists at Scottish Television’s studios in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, Scottish TV launched a new regular late-night Scotsport programme on Monday – showing SPL highlights. Scotsport is in its record-breaking 47th year.

The programme is fronted by Jim Delahunt with co-presenters Julyan Sinclair and Dubliner Sarah O’Flaherty, who was snapped up by Scotsport after working for Radio Clyde.

The Herald’s chief sports writer Graham Spiers will be a regular contributor to the programme.

By Hamish Mackay

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