Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Serie A finds it's UK home

Serie A has found a home for the 2008-9 season, on Setanta Sports, after an absence there for a season in it's failed daliance with Five. Much more excitingly, it brings the prospect with James Richardson already doing some work for Setanta of the possibility of "Gazetta Football Italia" being resumed.

It seems logical for Setanta to try and increase it's portfolio in this way - it gives them more football to use on Saturday evenings, a time currently when they have only French League action to show, and also gives them a better selection of matches for Sunday evenings, as well as more of a selection on Sunday afternoons to go against whatever Sky are offering.

I don't expect the rights will have cost that much, given the lateness of the deal, Serie A will just have been glad to get "someone" to show the league. It helps Setanta by increasing the number of live matches they will show, which now comfortably exceeds the number of live matches on Sky. However, I don't expect more than one or two live matches per weekend, given Setanta's strange insistence that they provide their own commentators for every match, which doesn't make sense given that the French, Italian and German leagues all come with centrally produced English commentary, meaning live matches could be screened easily and cheaply.

I hope that Setanta make better use of Serie A than they did last season - it would be criminal not to use James Richardson's knowledge and passion for the sport in a positive way. Serie A do produce a central highlights program, but it is dull and dry compared to Gazetta.

I'm delighted that Serie A is still going to be on UK screens next year. For all it's criticisms about defensive football, it has improved massively in the last few years.

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