Missed SPL payment sparks Setanta fears

Sports broadcaster Setanta has failed to make a routine payment of approximately £3m (€3.5m) to the Scottish Premier League (SPL), according to media reports.

The pay-TV broadcaster has defaulted on the payment owed for broadcasting live SPL matches and the future of the contract between Setanta and the SPL, which was due to expire at the end of next season, but extended earlier this year, is under threat.

This is the latest in a series of blows to the troubled broadcaster, which lost the rights to broadcast a package of live English Premiere League matches for the next three years to UK pay-TV operator BSkyB. Last season it broadcast 46 live matches but from next season it will only have the rights to broadcast 23, compared with Sky’s 115. The broadcaster must pay the English Premier League £35m by June 15 for the rights to broadcast those matches.

Yesterday, it emerged that Setanta was reportedly looking for £50m to close a funding gap after Sky refused to advance it the cash for the wholesale of its channels. Reports have suggested that Setanta is preparing to completely ditch its retail model in favour of wholesaling its programming to pay-TV operators as it seeks to stem estimated losses of £100m a year.

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