eir has purchased sports broadcaster Setanta Sports Channel Ireland as it looks to boost its TV offering.

The operator, which offers over 60 TV channels via existing distribution agreements, is following a similar path to that of BT in the UK in acquiring a producer of sports content.

Setanta offers live Barclays Premier League and UEFA Champions League football games, as well as rugby, Formula 1, Moto GP and golf.

It also provides BT’s sports channels in Ireland.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Richard Moat, CEO of eir, said: “This is an extremely exciting and very important first step for us in television content ownership.

“We will now offer our customers the widest range and highest calibre of sports content in Ireland.

“Buying Setanta Sports Ireland is a game changer for eir and is our largest acquisition since we purchased Meteor in 2005.”

The operator returned to growth earlier this year and reported revenue and earnings rises in the three months to September.

Setanta, which also has operations in Northern Ireland, the CIS, Asia and Turkey, was owned by financial institutions Gaiety Investments and Danu Partners.

Its businesses in the UK went into administration in 2009.

Michael O’Rourke, CEO Setanta Sports Ireland, said, “Today marks a significant milestone for Setanta Sports Ireland. This is really positive news for our customers, our colleagues and our business.

“eir’s scale and reach presents us with the opportunity to grow our sports offering in Ireland.”

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