Setanta Sports to launch in Ukraine

Multi-territory sports broadcaster Setanta Sports will launch in Ukraine on August 1, having picked up a host of sports rights in the country.

Key to its launch was the acquisition of English Premier League rights from the IMG agency in January for the 2019-20 to 2021-22 cycle.

Along with the Premier League, it has also acquired the rights to the NBA, NHL, UFC and ATP Tour. Its deals for rights to the NHL, UFC, and ATP events were also acquired from IMG.

Setanta will initially launch as an OTT service distributed by the digital division of Ukrainian broadcasting group StarLightMedia, but it is thought that they are in discussions with several distributors to launch a linear channel.

Ukraine has traditionally been tough market for rights-holders as Media Group Ukraine, owners of the Football 1 and Football 2 channels, has dominated the market. However, in recent times, the emergence of OTT platform Megogo and telco Volia has added a competitive element.

Media Group Ukraine held Premier League rights in the 2016-17 to 2018-19 cycle and being unable to renew the rights was thought to have been a blow to the company. Its other premium football content, the Uefa club competitions and national team matches do not provide the necessary volume of content. It will now need to secure more year-round content to fill its two channels.

However, despite the increased competition, several market experts believe that broadcasters will still struggle to make money in the country because of the current political and economic turmoil.