So, as one of the first American cable subscribers able to signup for Setanta, I did so… for journalistic reasons of course… so I could better tell you, my valuable readership, whether you need it for yourself….
Is anyone believing me?
Of course not, I got Setanta because, come on, it means more soccer available on my TV set.
In truth, I wasn’t sure whether it was worth the $12-per-month just for one non-HD channel. But, after figuring how much money I’d save on Kitty O’Shea’s costs (sorry Publius), it would pretty much pay itself back.
So after two weeks, what’s the verdict?
It’s great. It really is like what we all wish FSC would be. Setanta gives you the live matches you want with none of the truly annoying bits of FSC, like in game advertisements, infomercials, terribly studio shows, and Christian Miles. It’s non-live game programming is also far better with some actual decent shows. James Richardson of Guardian Football Podcast fame hosts two of them (Football Matters and Friday Football Show) and they are both quite good and far better than anything FSC produces for itself.
Also, I still can’t get that noodley music out of my head. You know that tune they play when they show the upcoming programming? I cannot get it out of my head. It’s stuck. Please someone play Louie Louie, so it will get stuck in there instead.
Setanta also shows oodles of rugby and its even more brutal cousin Aussie Rules*. Now, back in high school, I was the world’s worst prop for a couple of seasons, so I have a bit of a liking to the sport. Thus, I’ve been tuning into the opening weeks of the Heineken Cup, the European Champions League of Rugby, and it’s been great to watch. I am no expert on the teams, but after watching a few matches and reading a bit of Wikipedia, here are some quick thoughts on the rugby.
Now, I am not about to bail on soccer, but rugby is better than the Premiership in a few ways. One is that these guys do behave vastly better to the referees than soccer players do – not just in terms of diving, but in terms of interacting with the officials. How can I tell? Because rugby referees are all mic’d up. You hear every discussion between the refs and the players, the linesmen, and even the replay officials. Oh, how I wish we could have that in the Premiership… though you would need the world’s largest dump button to deal with the language.
Also, it’s interesting to see how smaller communities can support rugby teams that can win at the highest European level. I think it’s unlikely you’d ever see teams from places like Leicester, Limerick, Toulouse, and Swansea would ever be able to compete in the Champions League, but there they all are atop the Northern Hemisphere rugby world right beside teams from London, Dublin, and Paris.
So overall, I have to give Setanta a solid B+. They could use more original programming, especially if it’s as good as what they already have on. But that’s a pretty small complaint.