Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Something’s gone wrong at Setanta

BSkyB chiefs have confirmed they refused a £50million lifeline to stricken broadcaster Setanta.

Sky’s chief executive Jeremy Darroch said they were "a broadcaster not a bank" but insisted they had no wish to see Setanta go into administration.

Setanta had asked Sky for a £50million interest-free loan and in return offered access to the live rights to 46 Premier League games next season as an add-on option to Sky Sports.

The Irish broadcaster is in crisis with a payment of more than £30million due to the Premier League this week and backers refusing to advance them any more money.

Darroch told a Sports Industry Group event in London today: "Our job is not to fund other companies.

"We have been talking to Setanta, and trying to work with them and help them.

"At the end of the day we are not a bank, we are a broadcaster, not a supplier of working capital to a business and rights holder.”

Another broadcaster ESPN is favourite to step in and take over Setanta’s Premier League games if they go into administration but they refused to comment.

Meanwhile, Setanta’s subscription services for new customers became unavailable. Website applicants were flashed a message saying: "Oops! Something has gone wrong...".

Setanta’s customer services confirmed to callers new subscriptions were unavailable but they hoped the situation would have returned to normal by today.

The Premier League should not be too badly affected should Setanta go into administration as they have only won one of the six live broadcast packages for 2010 to 2013.

The Football Association, who have a £150million deal for England and FA Cup games with Setanta, and the Scottish Premier League have more significant problems however even though their agreements have been front-loaded in terms of cash being paid in advance.

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