Setanta’s mess deepens
Irish-based pay-TV sports broadcaster Setanta is reportedly in deeper trouble than ever this past weekend. Setanta has just appointed a new chairman, Sir Robin Miller, formerly CEO and chairman of publishing giant EMAP. More recently Sir Robin has been chairman of Edge Performance, a venture capital outfit.
Setanta’s financial predicament worsened over the weekend when it emerged that the Football Association is reportedly concerned over Setanta’s ability to pay its obligations to the FA. A March payment of £10m was late and another similar payment is due shortly, all as part of its £150m share of a 4-year soccer contract with the FA.
Setanta has 1.2m subscribers, and also has wholesale income from Virgin Media.
On Friday a Scottish soccer club manager, where the TV rights are exclusively held by Setanta, expressed concern that Setanta would be unable to meet its financial obligations towards the Scottish Premiere League (SPL). A meeting is due to take place this Thursday to consider Setanta’s request to renegotiate its £125m 4-year contract with the SPL.
One weekend press report stated that Setanta’s existing financial backers were “reluctant” to stump up further cash for the loss-making broadcaster. Appointing Sir Robin Miller is seen as a useful step in linking Setanta to extra City funding.