Home > companies > Discovery Networks acquires Setanta Sports Asia

New Delhi: Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, a division of the American broadcasting company Discovery Communications, on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Setanta Sports Asia Ltd, a premium sports channel specialising in rugby. The size of the deal was not disclosed.

Setanta Sports, which is also available via web and mobile apps, reaches more than 42 million homes across 16 countries. The channel has rights to some of the best rugby league and union events from the northern and southern hemispheres. The acquisition is valuable for Discovery as Setanta has renewed SANZAR (South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) rights, including all home international matches, plus Super Rugby—both of which represent some of the most sought-after rugby union properties. In addition to the SANZAR rights, the channel’s key programming includes European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, National Rugby League, Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro 12.

“The acquisition of Setanta Sports Asia is an important investment for Discovery as we further build scale and expand our business in Asia. Just over a year ago, Discovery gained a controlling interest in Eurosport—a bold play that took our company into the exciting arena of sports," said J.B. Perrette, president of Discovery Networks International.

He added that the company will look to build on the strengths of Setanta and fortify its leadership as a must-have sports channel across Asia. A Discovery official in India, however, declined to comment on the launch of the channel in the country. Currently, some of Setanta’s rugby games are telecast in India on Sony Six operated by Multi Screen Media.

Perrette said that Discovery will continue to invest in premium sports for Asia. “We are also very pleased to have Peter Hutton, who joined us a few months ago as CEO of Eurosport, leading the strategy of our newest global brand. Peter has excelled in the sports media business and his extensive international experience in multiple markets, including Asia, will boost our momentum," he said.

In total, Setanta Sports Asia airs more than 500 rugby matches per season on HD and SD feeds across the region. The channel’s multi-device player, Setanta Sports Plus, is widely accessible online, as well as on tablets and smartphones.

Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific boasts of a portfolio of 14 television brands on natural history, wonders of science, motoring, travel and lifestyle and sports, among others.

These brands reach 674 million cumulative subscribers in 36 countries and territories with programming customised in 14 languages and dialects.

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