28 January 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
Interview: Setanta's Colin Morgan Discusses The Competition For Sports Rights
01 Oct 2012 : By Steve Cummins
Colin Morgan
Colin Morgan is the chief executive of Setanta Sports having joined the Irish broadcaster in 2010. He was previously chief executive of Quinn Insurance.

How would you describe the job you do?
Ensuring that the organisation is focused on delivering our business plans and we have the team in place to allow this to happen.

What’s the biggest single aspect of the television industry that has changed since you began your career?
Globally it is the convergence of platforms – TV, PC, tablet, smartphone – for the delivery of content. In Ireland managing the impact of the recession has changed things a lot.

What’s the most recent sporting event you’ve acquired the rights to and why?
We recently broadcast over 70 live hours of coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games which was a tremendous success for Setanta and more importantly for the Irish team who performed above everyone’s expectations. Our team really enjoyed working on this event and it was a privilege to be brining the phenomenal performances of the Irish team to viewers in the country.

What’s the most recent sports documentary you’ve commissioned and why?
Through the BAI Sound & Vision fund we recently commissioned ‘Loosehorse’ to make a documentary where Ken Doherty mentors inner city kids highlighting how being involved in sports can really these kids. We believe this is a very important subject matter for urban Ireland.

The competition among broadcasters for sports rights is notoriously fierce, how do you ensure Setanta can compete?
We focus our resources on the rights that are available for us to exploit in the Irish market with a particular emphasis on the sports that Irish fans want to watch.

What are you looking for when commissioning sports documentaries from independent producers?
We are looking for interesting stories on great Irish sporting achievements as well as illustrating the importance of sport in modern Ireland.

What would you like to see more of?
Generally, we are very happy with the range of proposals that we receive from independent producers. We would love to be in a position to commission more of them.

What’s your proudest commission/ acquisition and why?
Our Premier League and Allianz Leagues content drive our business but I think the London 2012 Paralympic Games and our Rugby World Cup 2011 were two important projects where we delivered great content to our viewers .

In sitting alongside other digital sports stations, is it important that Setanta maintains an Irish identity?
Absolutely. We do this by ensuring that we have the right balance of local versus international sport and where we are showing sports from other parts of the world, we try to show it from an Irish perspective. We are the only Irish sports channel and our raison d’etre is to provide Irish sports fans with the sport they enjoy watching, whether that is Premier League football, Champions league or the Allianz and Airtricity Leagues.

British Telecom entering the TV sports rights market in the UK has made huge headlines. Are you concerned other non-broadcast companies may soon compete for Irish sporting rights in this new digital era?
There will always be new entrants into the sports rights market. What is important for Setanta is to stay focused on delivering for our viewers in the Irish market and I believe we are ideally positioned to continue to do so into the future.

Sporting events broadcast in 3D – a fad or something viewers will see more of in the coming years?
We are yet to be convinced that there is significant demand for 3D sports offerings.

The future of sports on television is…
What it always has been about, providing viewers with access to the best live action in the sports they enjoy watching.

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