Fox Soccer Plus (formerly Setanta Sports) is an American sports channel dedicated to soccer and rugby. Launched in 2005 by the Irish sports broadcaster Setanta Sports to offer live and tape-delayed mainstream sports events in the United States and Caribbean, it was rebranded on March 1, 2010 as a spin-off of the now-defunct Fox Soccer after its owner Fox Entertainment Group acquired the channel and its coverage rights from Setanta in January 2010.
Launched on April 26, 2005 by Setanta Sports which is based in the Republic of Ireland, the channel had the rights to delayed Manchester United and Chelsea matches on MUTV and Chelsea TV, which were shown in segments within the channel. Any given broadcaster can only gain access to a maximum of 2 club channels under the current Premier League international TV rights.
As of July 27, 2009 the ownership structure of Setanta Sports North America Limited changed. Setanta Sports North America Limited was owned by Sabloss. Both Setanta Sports Channel Ireland Limited and Setanta Sports North America Limited were licensed by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.
On January 27, 2010, Setanta Sports announced that they had reached an agreement with Fox Soccer Channel to transfer rights to select programming (soccer and rugby) that would be effective as of March 1. In addition, Setanta Sports announced that they would "cease" broadcasting the channel in the US and Caribbean on February 28, 2010. The channel was rebranded from Setanta Sports to Fox Soccer Plus on March 1, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST.
The channel airs soccer matches from the UEFA Champions League, England's FA Cup, Germany's Bundesliga, UEFA Europa League, and Scottish Premiership. Moreover, Fox Soccer Plus has acquired the rights to a handful of English national team matches, for both the senior and junior squads.
In 2010 it secured the rights to broadcast the 2010 Rugby League Four Nations. As of 2013, they are also broadcasting some National Rugby League and Super League matches, including highlight shows (the syndicated NRL Full Time for the Australian league, Boots N' All for the European league) and full live coverage of both Grand Finals and the State of Origin series. The coverage of these events are "untouched", meaning it includes all pre-match activities and does not obscure the Sky Sports or Nine Network branding.
Fox Soccer Plus has a contract to continue their coverage of the Australian Football League through the 2016 season. The announcement, reported January 16, 2014 on the Australian Football Association of North America website says that Fox Soccer Plus told AFANA that the network will broadcast a minimum of two live games per week in HD and coverage will continue through the end of the 2016 season. The same website post says Fox has also committed to show all playoff matches, leading up to and including the Grand Final. Additional games will air on the Fox Sports 2 network each week but not the Grand Final.
Fox Soccer Plus formerly held rights to all major properties in the SANZAAR countries—the Tri Nations involving the national teams of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia; Super Rugby, involving franchises from each of these countries; South Africa's Currie Cup; and New Zealand's ITM Cup. However, in 2011, Fox Soccer Plus lost broadcasting rights for Super Rugby and Tri Nations to DirecTV.
Fox Soccer Plus no longer has any rights to rugby union, previously the channel had rights to the Europe-wide Heineken Cup, the English Premiership and the Pro 12 in the Celtic nations and Italy (although RaboDirect Pro 12 League matches were non-existent in Fox Soccer Plus' schedule for the first six weeks of the season).
When the channel was known as Setenta Sports, it offered the Setanta Sports Xtra channel at no extra charge to DirecTV customers in case two live events need to be aired simultaneously.
As a part of Setanta Sports, Setanta Premium was available only to select commercial subscribers for Pay-Per-View events while most are broadcast delayed on the full-time channel.
This service charged customers a cover charge of $10–$20 per head, depending on the match.
During its existence as Setanta Sports, Setanta also offered a broadband subscription service, Setanta Broadband, which allowed customers with a high speed internet connection to view some of the Setanta Sports channel content on their computers and includes access to pay-per-view events. Portuguese Liga soccer was available and Premier League matches were also broadcast starting the 2007-08 season on Setanta Broadband. Broadband customers do not receive Australian Football League matches as of July 2008, due to the league's new distribution deal with aussiesport.tv.
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