Thursday, 4 June 2009

Goodbye Setanta?

Setanta Sports, the Irish satellite tv network that has taken an increasing foothold in Sky's football monopoly in recent years is in big financial trouble and could be close to collapse.

They have significant debts and failed in February's latest auction to hold on to the two of the six packages of Premier League football they had previously secured. They took a gamble by dropping their bid by 20% and it back-fired allowing Sky in for an extra 23 live Monday games. What that really means is that it severely undermines their ability to sell on the package that they have retained and there is an increasing concern that they will be unable to trade their way out of it. Large payments are due to the PL before the season begins and they already missed Monday's £3m payment to the SPL, whose board meets tomorrow to consider it's position. If Setanta fail to make these then that could signal the end for the business that started out with a mission to provide Irish sports coverage to ex-pats from the Emerald Isle.

The fact that they appear to be going down the regulatory root with Ofcom looks desperate to me and sour grapes at best. It's hard to see that they will win a competion case against Sky when they were clearly beaten at auction fairly and squarely. 

The consequences for the Premier League and Scottish PL could be significant, especially north of the border where a number of clubs are already carrying significant debt acquired against the contracted revenues from Setanta.

1 comment:

Wyn Grant said...

The consequences for the SPL could be very serious. Disney or someone else will pick up the Premiership package.