September 12, 2009

Ukraine v England could be screened live on internet after Setanta fallout

Broadcast rights to the game were originally sold to Setanta, but after the pay-TV operator collapsed earlier this year they reverted to international agency Kentaro, which bought the rights from the Ukraine FA.

Kentaro has spoken to all the major broadcasters but are yet to receive an offer for the game, which will be played on October 10, and is now pursuing a live pay-per-view internet option as a back-up plan.

Specialist digital sports platform Perform have been instructed to market and stream the match live on a pay-per-view basis. Perform stream over 15,000 events annually, and streamed live Uefa Cup matches featuring Tottenham and Manchester City last year.
Sources close to the negotiations said Sky have indicated that they are not currently interested in taking the game, ITV have not made a bid and the BBC made a low bid before withdrawing it.

England could qualify for the World Cup with victory over Croatia this week, but should their fate rest on the Ukraine match then broadcasters may re-examine their reluctance.

Philipp Grothe, CEO of the Kentaro Group said; “We have spoken to every traditional UK broadcaster and currently have no offer on the table. We therefore feel the internet delivers the most viable option to deliver an important England game directly to the fans. It will be the first time in history that an England game has had an exclusive web broadcast.”

Andrew Croker, Executive Chairman of Perform said; “We have pioneered sports coverage on the internet for the last ten years and currently have 20 million football fans using our online services every month. We’re very excited about working with Kentaro to deliver this landmark event.”

The Ukraine game is the only England match currently unresolved following Setanta’s collapse, with ITV having picked up the scheduled home qualifiers and friendly games.

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