Setanta searches for a gambling partner

LONDON - Setanta has identified gambling as a key content and revenue component of its live Premiership football service and is seeking a gambling partner to operate match betting via mobile phones.

Setanta searches for a gambling partner
Setanta searches for a gambling partner

The Irish pay-TV broadcaster is set to take advantage of a relaxation of the UK's gambling rules that kick in this September, shortly after the start of the new football season. Pre-match previews will include tipsters highlighting betting options on the upcoming televised game. Viewers will be able to place bets directly through their mobile phones.

According to Setanta's UK sales director, Mark Taylor, the channel cannot afford to rely purely on advertising. "The ad market is pretty flat, so we're looking at off-screen income drivers, anything that we can do from an ‘at home' perspective, or programme-led, that looks at potential odds and allows viewers to predict the outcome of games," said Taylor.

Taylor added that the fledging digital channel, which won a three-year deal to air 46 Premiership games a season from August and a four-year deal with ITV, from August next year, to show FA Cup and England home games, is also on the scout for a betting partner. "We're looking at betting partners - Sky has SkyBet and we're aiming to create a similar set-up," he said.

While the deregulation of gambling laws is not set to take place until the autumn, Setanta is still free to pursue betting companies and breweries for its commercial feed.

From 11 August, when the first Premiership match airs, the Sky Sports feed picked up by more than 46,000 subscribers, including many of the UK's licensed pubs and clubs, will be rebranded Setanta Sports for all the games it has the rights to.

"Those feeds carry different ads and their content is not regulated by Ofcom or the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, so they can talk to people in a different way," said Taylor.

The betting add-on will be extended to pub viewers who will have the chance to text a mobile number to predict the score and goal-scorers and win prizes in competition with fellow drinkers.

Setanta intends to make its Monday night game a football event, similar to gridiron in the US, where homebound workers stop off at bars to watch the Monday night game.

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