Saturday, February 02, 2008

Braindead Setanta

Every month I am reminded how thoroughly clueless and ignorant Setanta Sports North America programmers are about their own product and subscribers.

Latest example:

The huge Six Nations England vs. Wales test match played Saturday (see post below) was not available live on Setanta's regular North American TV service. (Over-priced PPV was another matter).

I understand that soccer -- more explicitly, English EPL -- is the bread & butter of Setanta. So, we see wall-to-wall coverage of live and taped soccer matches all day Saturday. I "get" that.

What I cannot fathom is why Setanta chooses to televise the tape-delay of the big test match, not merely more than a day afterwards, but directly opposite the live NFL SuperBowl.

Setanta is broadcasting the match at 7:15 PM ET Sunday Feb. 03 in Canada -- taped kickoff should occur sometime in the 2nd quarter of the Superbowl.

If rugby is ever to get a foothold in Canada (and North America) with a generation of potential new players and viewers, then the ideal market for newbies and old fans alike is to entice football (NFL, CFL) fans, not turn them away. The connection between the two sports is both historical and obvious. (If you need catching up, google "Harvard" + "McGill" + "1872".)

Presumably, "touchdowns" means NFL fans and rugby fans have a LOT more in common with each other than NFL fans and soccer fans. Presumably, Setanta should either know this, or needs a richly deserved kick to the testicles to wake them up.

UPDATE: I see that wikipedia's main-page feature profile Sunday morning is "History of American Football." The introduction to the wiki entry, clearly spelled out for the benefit of people like Setanta Sports' programming department, reads:

The history of American football, the most popular spectator sport in the United States, can be traced to early versions of rugby football.

For much of the past few months, Setanta has televised Heineken Cup and Celtic League rugby games -- again, tape delayed -- directly opposite *live* NFL regular season games.

The Superbowl conflict is merely the icing on the cake.


UPDATE: I just found in my inbox a Setanta email blast (see pic below) promoting their Six Nations schedule. I see that the advertised schedule has already been proved wrong - on the 2nd match! I also see that NONE of the test matches will be televised to TV subscribers live -- all will be tape-delayed -- so when you see that Setanta google banner ad running atop my blog that advertises "LIVE Rugby on TV: International Rugby Live in your HOME," caveat emptor, don't hold your breath.

PS. It's getting tedious, but see my other posting.


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