Setanta loses Premier League TV rights
Saturday, June 20 2009,
By James Welsh
Setanta has been left on the brink of collapse after losing its rights to 46 Premier League matches in the 2009-10 season.
The sports broadcaster failed to make a £30m payment to the Premier League after a rescue package with Len Blavatnik's Access Industries - which already holds a 3% stake in Setanta and controls Top Up TV - fell through.
In a statement, the League said: "The Premier League has been working with Setanta for some time to help them continue as the broadcaster of 46 UK Live Matches for the 2009/10 Season.
"The Premier League, in agreement with Setanta, stipulated that certain contractual requirements had to be met on or before Friday 19 June 2009 to allow the preparations for the 2009/10 season to continue unaffected.
"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."
The League is now readvertising the package of 46 matches. Sky would be able to bid for up to 23 matches, as European regulations prevent it from holding all 46. It is thought that ESPN is interested in acquiring the package.
In a short statement tonight, Setanta said: "The Board of Setanta notes the statement issued earlier today by the Premier League and will consider its options over the weekend. In the meantime, Setanta’s sports channels continue on air."
Setanta is, at the time of publication, continuing to accept new subscriptions on the web.
Access Industries added: "Access believed that this proposal could potentially have secured the future of the broadcaster for its customers, employees and for football, provided certain conditions required to put the business on a long-term viable footing were met.
"Regrettably, despite intensive efforts on all sides over the past few days, and despite significant progress in a number of areas, there remain a number of issues which we have been unable to resolve within the time available.
"We are disappointed not to have been able to make this deal happen. Access remains committed to sports programming and will continue to explore opportunities in this area."