Setanta Sports North America: For Sale?
The US and Irish assets of Setanta Sports could be sold to raise financing to bail out Setanta UK, according to The Guardian newspaper.
Setanta UK is desperately trying to raise money between now and Monday to make a £30m payment it owes to the Premier League. As a result, Setanta is looking at all of its assets and are in talks with numerous investors to raise the necessary cash.
Part of the reason that the US and Irish assets of Setanta Sports may go on the selling block is that they’re both profitable, The Guardian reports. Both the US and Irish divisions of Setanta have worked hard over several years to build their networks and make sound decisions. In contrast, Setanta UK has paid too much for TV rights. For example, they agreed to £150m to show FA Cup and England matches over the next four years — which many will argue is far above the going rate for those rights that are shared with ITV.
The US and Irish divisions of Setanta may have to pay for Setanta UK’s lack of fiscal responsibility. ESPN presumably would be one of the interested parties in buying the US and Irish assets. However, there are some critics that argue that ESPN are already under a lot of pressure to keep costs down especially after they recently had approximately 100 lay-offs.
The question for many readers will be, what will happen if Setanta UK goes into administration? How will that affect Setanta customers in North America?
According to an unnamed source at Setanta North America, residents in the United States and Canada who are Setanta customers will continue to receive feeds. So, the Setanta feed will not go off the air. However, programming produced by Setanta UK such as Football Matters and The Friday Football Show will no longer be available until further notice.
The story is far from over. In fact, it may change on a daily basis or even hourly behind-the-scenes during closed-door meetings involving Setanta and investors worldwide. It’s extremely difficult to predict what will happen. Even if Setanta goes belly-up, the administrators may try to keep the business running as usual until a buyer can be found.