Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 15:49 UK

Setanta live games up for grabs

Portsmouth v Wigan
The league expects to announce the auction results by the end of the week

Bids close on Monday for the rights to broadcast 46 live English Premier League games in the 2009/10 season that were to have been shown by Setanta.

The league took the broadcasting rights back from Setanta on Friday after it missed a payment deadline.

BSkyB and ESPN are the front-runners to buy rights to 23 games each.

Meanwhile the Scottish Premier League (SPL) has taken back its UK rights for 2009/10 "and beyond" after the Irish broadcaster missed a £3m payment.

'Extended deadline'

The Scottish move came after Setanta told the SPL it was unable to make the outstanding payment to the top Scottish league.

"Setanta has been unable to meet our extended deadline for the outstanding £3m payment to the SPL and, in terms of the notice previously issued, our British broadcasting rights for season 2009/10 and beyond revert to us," Lex Gold, SPL executive chairman, said.

"We are now actively engaging in the process of selling our domestic broadcasting rights for next season and beyond."

The board of Setanta has been meeting on Monday to look at ways of saving the company, which is estimated to be losing £100m a year.

In a brief statement Setanta said that talks were "continuing".

Deloitte has been lined up to act as administrator if it fails.

As well as its UK and Irish businesses, Setanta also has international interests in Australia, Canada and the US.

EU regulations

The Premier League expects to announce the winners of the auction of live games by the end of the week.

SETANTA'S SPORTS DEALS
English Premier League
Scottish Premier League
Blue Square Premier
IPL cricket
US PGA Tour golf
Guinness Premiership rugby union (from 2010)
Magners rugby
Boxing

BSkyB is expected to buy the package of Monday night games, which it has already won from 2010-11 onwards.

EU rules mean that BSkyB cannot own all the rights, however, and Disney-owned ESPN are favourites to buy the games which take place at Saturday teatime.

ESPN has refused to comment directly on whether it will bid for Premier League rights, but has said it is "interested in rights where they are available and where they make business sense".

Other rights

Attention could now turn to the other broadcasting rights that Setanta owns, including the 23 English Premier League games a season that it is due to broadcast for the three seasons starting in 2010/11.

It also has contracts with the FA for England and FA Cup matches, the Scottish Premier League (SPL), and the Blue Square Premier, the top division of English non-league football.

It recently missed a £3m payment due to the SPL - part of a four-year deal worth £54m over four years from 2006 to 2010.

Setanta also owns rights to the PGA golf tour, as well as cricket and rugby union deals.

It is running at an estimated loss of £100m a year, after missing subscriber targets.

The broadcaster has 1.2 million subscribers, 700,000 short of the 1.9 million that industry experts believe they need to break even.



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SEE ALSO
SPL seeks new television contract
22 Jun 09 |  Scottish Premier
Inverness cuts 'warning to SPL'
21 Jun 09 |  Inverness CT
BT Vision stops selling Setanta
21 Jun 09 |  Business
Setanta loses Premier TV rights
19 Jun 09 |  Business
Setanta payment deadline looming
19 Jun 09 |  Business
Premier League's Setanta deadline
15 Jun 09 |  Business
Endemol to discuss Setanta stake
15 Jun 09 |  Business
Last-ditch effort to save Setanta
09 Jun 09 |  Business

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