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Setanta Sports North America: For Sale?

Setanta Sports logoThe 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.

As soon as we hear more, we’ll keep you posted. For up-to-the-minute updates, be sure to follow EPL Talk on Twitter and bookmark EPL Talk’s Premier League news on Google Reader.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Tim

    June 11, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Don’t think Fox would as the EPL games Setanta show they bought from Fox (as Fox holds the EPL rights in the US and sold some games to Setanta). If Fox thought they could have made money from it they would have kept those rights.

  2. AtlantaPompey

    June 11, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Gaffer,

    Would it be possible for Fox to buy them and put them on a channel like FoxSportsEspanol? With all of the FoxSportsNet channels, surely they have space available to broadcast a game or two?

  3. Christopher

    June 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

    If Setanta North America is profitable maybe that’s good news, as long as someone can buy that asset and keep the live Premier League games on the air.

    • The Gaffer

      June 11, 2009 at 11:35 am

      True, Christopher. But if it’s not ESPN, I don’t think there’s anyone else out there who has the money and marketing expertise to make it a success. Right now, all bets are on ESPN or we may all end up losing out.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Christopher

        June 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm

        Let’s hope that something good comes out of it then… If Setanta does try to sell their Irish and United States assets hopefully ESPN would be at least willing to consider taking over the North American side of the business.

  4. geeza

    June 11, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Cant get setanta through TWC anyway.
    dont bother with that setanta-i crap, i have it …waste of money.. audio about a minute before video and always freezers. I have broadband so.
    and their customer support…one word ..bollocks
    just want more footy on me telly…..
    just hope if ESPN get hold of it they wont try and have their own muppets trying to do commmentary. Remember the world cup disaster… ended up watching it in spanish. at leasty it flowed better . dont even speak spanish.
    CTID…

  5. Patrick

    June 11, 2009 at 7:06 am

    I wrote a story on my Web site looking at what might happen if ESPN were to start showing EPL matches: http://intelligentsoccer.com/?p=210

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