Setanta has Friday deadline to pay £30m or lose match rights

| June 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

Irish pay-TV sports broadcaster Setanta has been told to pay £30 million by Friday 19 June or lose its rights to broadcast 46 live football matches next season.

The English Premier League has told the struggling broadcaster to meet its financial obligations or it will sell the rights.

In a statement, the Premier League said today: “The Premier League has been working over the past weeks, with Setanta, to ascertain whether they are in a position to continue as the broadcaster of 46 UK live matches for the 2009/10 season.”

“Although the Premier League would like to provide Setanta with as much time as possible to re-arrange its finances, the start of the 2009/10 Season is only two months away, with the release of fixtures imminent.”

The loss of the rights could prove to be disastrous for Setanta since the Premier League games are the main reason its customers subscribe. Should this be the case, it is likely that the broadcaster will face a high level of cancellations.

Today, the League confirmed it may re-sell Setanta’s rights as early as next week if it cannot meet its payment deadline.

Last week, BSkyB refused to provide a £50 million lifeline to Setanta stating it was “a broadcaster not a bank”. Talks broke down between the two companies after a deal could not be reached.

Emergency talks have been ongoing with the company’s founders, Leonard Ryan and Michael O’Rourke, who are striving to fight off administration by trying to secure finance to keep the firm up and running.

The group is believed to be considering a deal proposed by US investor Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, who offered a £20 million bid for a 51% share in Setanta.

Setanta, which broadcasts football, cricket, golf and rugby union, has more than 1 million subscribers. However, according to analysts, this is only about two-thirds of the number it needs and as a result the company is facing losses of up to £100 million a year.

Deloitte is on standby should the firm enter administration.

Tags: BSkyB, , Setanta

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