Premier League terminates Setanta agreement

| June 21, 2009 | 0 Comments

Irish pay-TV sports broadcaster Setanta has been unable to meet its financial obligations and has therefore lost its rights to broadcast 46 Premier League football matches next season.

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

In a statement, the Premier League said: “It is with considerable regret that we announce that Setanta has been unable to meet their obligations.

As such the existing licence agreement between us has been terminated with immediate effect.”

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

Setanta was considering a deal proposed by US investor Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, who offered a £20 million bid for a 51% share in Setanta. However, talks broke down after “a number of issues” were not resolved.

A spokesperson for Access Industries said: “Access believed that this proposal could potentially have secured the future of the broadcaster. Regrettably there remain a number of issues which we have been unable to resolve within the time available.”

Setanta, which has a workforce of around 440 staff, said it is now reviewing its options but said that its sports channels continue on air.

Setanta, which broadcasts football, cricket, golf and rugby union, has around 1.2 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: , Setanta

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