Setanta USA to shut down on Feb. 28

NEW YORK (AP) — Setanta will stop broadcasting in the United States and Caribbean on Feb. 28 and turn over many of its rights for soccer and rugby events to Fox, which launches its second all-soccer U.S. network the following day.

Setanta said in a statement Wednesday that it will continue broadcasting in Australia, Canada and Ireland.

"Having examined several options for our U.S. business, we concluded that the best course of action for the group is to exit the U.S. market and to concentrate on other markets where we can be a more substantial player in sports television," Setanta Sports co-founder Leonard Ryan said in a statement.

The company is launching Setanta Bet next week to enter the online gaming market

Setanta's British division filed for bankruptcy protection last summer and all of its channels went off air in Britain, where it failed to make payments for Premier League rights. ESPN, part of The Walt Disney Co., took over Setanta's Premier League packages in Britain.

Fox Soccer Channel, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., announced Jan. 12 that it is launching Fox Soccer Plus on March 1. The new network will televise matches of the European Champions League, England's Premier League, the English Football Association Cup and the Italian Serie A.

Setanta's Canadian operations are jointly owned by the Setanta Group and Rogers Communications Inc.