Market Insight

Fox continues international sports push with Setanta Africa buy

November 08, 2013

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Fox International Channels has acquired the 76% of Setanta Africa Services that it did not already own, taking control of the Dublin based Irish company. Setanta Africa Services does not broadcast within Ireland but broadcasts sporting events in Africa via three channels: Setanta Action, Setanta Africa and HD channel Zuku Sports. Fox will maintain the existing brand names. The deal was approved by the Irish Competition Authority.

Zuku Sports is available throughout East Africa, broadcasting general sporting events and European football, including French Ligue 1, Polish  T-Mobile Ekstraklasa, Russian Premier Liga, Spanish Copa del Rey and German Fussball Bund Pokal. The channel also broadcasts basketball matches from the NBA, Euroleague and Spanish ABC leagues as well as club-specific content from Manchester United and Arsenal football clubs. Setanta Action has a focus on action sports such as boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, with a smaller offering of NHL hockey, cycling and watersport events. Setanta Africa broadcasts football across the continent including top division rights from the English and Scottish Premiership and French Ligue 1, as well as programming from clubs such as Milan and Tottenham and Manchester City. The channel also broadcasts a small number of other events such as running and athletics.

Fox International Channels currently distributes channels including Fox, Fox Movies and Fox News in Africa, with the newly-acquired Setanta Africa channels providing Fox with access to premium sports rights as well as allowing FIC to utilise a recognised brand name with existing audience. This latest purchase further outlines Fox's intention to fill the void in mid-tier sports coverage left by ESPN exiting many of its EMEA markets. Fox has entered a number of agreements to this end, including a 12 year deal valued at around €1bn with Eredivisie Marketing and Media for the rights to broadcast Dutch Eredivisie soccer fixtures through the Fox International Channels channel portfolio. Fox has also launched Fox Sports branded Eredivisie channels in the Netherlands as well as Fox Sports 2 in Italy and is planning to launch the channel in Brazil in early 2014. Fox has also entered Asian markets by rebranding ESPN Star Sports Asia to Fox Sports Asia, buying out ESPN's 50% share of the channel.



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