Irish Broadcaster Acquires US Sports Network

09 June 2005

Irish digital TV sports broadcaster, Setanta Sports, has inked a multimillion dollar deal to buy the North American Sports Network.

NASN, the international channel that broadcasts baseball, NFL football, basketball and NASCAR racing outside the US, has been valued at around $50 million (€40m; £27m), though details of the deal have not been divulged.

The 24-hour TV channel was founded by Setanta and Paul Allen's US venture capital firm Vulcan European Media in 2002. Sports fan Allen is best known as the billionaire co-founder of software titan Microsoft.

Setanta is acquiring outright control of NASN from Vulcan, and then reselling a 50% holding to Benchmark Capital Europe, an Anglo-US private equity group.

The new partners intend to compete aggressively for audience share with rivals Eurosport and ESPN. Setanta's joint ceo, Leonard Ryan, is targeting Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands for expansion.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff