The Commission approved proposed changes to the ownership structures for Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited and Setanta Sports North America Limited. In both cases the changes involve the purchase of the interests previously held by Setanta Sports Holdings Limited.
In relation to Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited, Gaiety Investments is increasing its shareholding from 20% to 60%. The remaining 40% will be owned by a new company Sabloss Limited. The main shareholders in Sabloss are Michael O’Rourke, Leonard Ryan and Mark O’Meara. Sabloss has also purchased 100% of the shares in Setanta Sports North America Limited. Both companies hold satellite and cable content contracts with the Commission.
The BCI approved applications from Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited and Setanta Radio Limited for the provision of two new satellite television services, Setanta Sports 1 and Setanta Sports respectively. Contracts for these services were signed on 27th July.
Setanta Sports 1 will be a subscription service that will broadcast live and delayed sports programmes, sports news and highlights programmes to Irish audiences. Setanta Sports will broadcast live and delayed sporting events, mainly at weekends, and will target audiences in Ireland and the UK.
Speaking at the contract signing BCI Chief Executive Michael O’Keeffe said that “these are positive developments for the Setanta companies and for Irish broadcasting. Setanta has established itself as a key player in the broadcasting sector here and this new investment, coupled with the new channels, should secure its future in Ireland after a difficult number of months.”
The Commission also approved a proposal from TV3 that the licensing status of the 3e service be amended. The service will now be licensed under Section 34, rather than Sections 36 and 41, of the Broadcasting Act 2001. 3e will no longer have a separate contract with the Commission but will be covered by the main terms and conditions of the existing TV3 contract.