Discovery Acquires Setanta Sports Asia Network

JB Perrette, head of Discovery Networks International

With the network known for its rugby coverage, the company is looking to replicate in Asia its success with pan-European sports channel Eurosport.

Discovery Communications said Tuesday that its Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific unit has acquired Setanta Sports Asia, a sports channel specializing in rugby. ‎

Reaching more than 42 million homes across 16 countries, Setanta Sports Asia is one of the fastest-growing sports channels in Asia, the company said. "It super serves passionate fans with some of the best rugby league and union events from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres," Discovery added.

Financial details weren't disclosed.

The acquisition comes with a new five-year renewal of South Africa, New Zealand and Australian rugby rights. The network's other programming includes the European Rugby Champions Cup and England's Aviva Premiership.

“The acquisition of Setanta Sports Asia is an important investment for Discovery as we further build scale and expand our business in Asia,” said JB Perrette, president of Discovery Networks International. "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. Similar to the strategy we have adopted for Eurosport, we will look to build on the strengths of Setanta and fortify its leadership as a must-have sports channel across Asia."

He said that Peter Hutton, who joined the firm a few months ago as CEO of Eurosport, would be leading the strategy of the newest sports brand in the Discovery family. "Peter has excelled in the sports media business, and his extensive international experience in multiple markets, including Asia, will boost our momentum,” said Perrette.

Setanta Sports Asia airs more than 500 rugby matches per season across the region. It also airs Gaelic football and hurling. The channel also has a multi-device player, Setanta Sports Plus.

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