There's no doubt that the real winner in the ESPN takeover of Setanta's UK rights is Sky. Where will viewers access ESPN's matches next season? Via the Sky platform. Who will produce the match coverage for ESPN? Sky Sports. This is surely not the outcome that the European Commission was looking for when it tried to enforce elements of competition in the sports rights market.
But maybe Sky should not brag too loud or too long. ESPN plans to use its new foothold in the UK market to introduce a load of American TV sport which we don't have. It will not stop with football. And as part of the Disney organisation, ESPN has resources that Setanta could only dream about. When the next round of bidding for Premier League bundles comes along, Sky will face a much tougher opponent.