Scottish Premier League withdraws from deal with Setanta

by Andy Sennitt

Struggling Irish pay-TV company Setanta is in even bigger trouble this evening after the Scottish Premier League (SPL) followed its English counterpart in withdrawing Setanta’s TV rights after the company failed to make a failed to make an outstanding payment of £3m.

In a statement, SPL executive chairman Lex Gold said: “Setanta has been unable to meet our extended deadline for the outstanding £3m payment to the SPL and, in terms of the notice previously issued, our British broadcasting rights for season 2009/10 and beyond revert to us.”

Setanta Sports management are believed to be meeting in London today to decide the way forward for the troubled broadcaster, which now faces the increasing prospect of going into administration.

This evening it was announced that US-based ESPN, which runs two channels in the UK, has won the rights to the English Premier League games previously held by Setanta. ESPN’s 46 live games will be split between Saturday evenings and Monday nights in the coming season.

For the three seasons from 2010-11 to 2012-13 ESPN has the rights to a single package of 23 matches previously awarded to Setanta.