This piece of mine appears in today's First Post.
Another football season is upon us, but for most armchair television viewers, the 2007/8 campaign will have a rather different look.
Since the Premiership's inception in 1992, Sky have had a monopoly on live Premiership games: in May, the Rupert Murdoch-owned company showed their 1,000th match. But now, thanks to the intervention of the European Commission, who threatened to take legal action against the Premier League if it failed to allow other broadcasters a share of live TV coverage, Sky has competition.
The Irish-based Setanta Sports have won two of the six available live rights packages for the new season, meaning they will broadcast 46 matches, starting on Saturday with the Aston Villa v Liverpool clash.
Setanta's rise up the broadcasting ladder has been meteoric; the company's fortunes mirroring that of Ireland's booming economy.
Launched with the beaming back of a Republic of Ireland World Cup match to the back room of a west London pub in 1990, Setanta now has 12 channels in 24 countries. And the Premiership deal is not the end of it.
Together with ITV , Setanta has also secured the rights to screen England's home matches and live FA Cup matches for four years from August 2008, outbidding Sky and BBC's offer by £125m. Viewers can get Setanta via satellite or cable packages or by paying £9.99 per month on Freeview.
Setanta's team of presenters for the new season includes the vastly experienced Des Lynam and former Football Italia anchor James Richardson. Other signings include former footballers Les Ferdinand and Steve McManaman and the opinionated former Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock.
Sky have been keen to play down the loss of their Premier League monopoly, stressing they will be showing more live games than ever before. But there's no doubting that the momentum is with their Celtic rival