BSkyB and ESPN favourites to take Setanta’s EPL packages

UK pay-TV operator BSkyB and Disney-owned sports broadcaster ESPN are favourites to secure the two packages of English Premiere League football matches that Setanta Sports were forced to forfeit after failing to make payments last Friday.

Setanta had until last Friday to make the latest €30m payment for the rights to broadcast football matches. However, a proposed €20m rescue package from Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik didn’t emerge and the broadcaster lost the rights.

Sky is now likely to pick up a package of 23 Monday evening matches, which would mean it owned five of the six rights packages available – the most allowed under EU law. ESPN has emerged as the favourite to take the package of 23 Saturday evening matches. Broadcasters must lodge bids for the packages today.

The future of Setanta Sports now remains unclear but reports suggest that it could be placed into administration today.

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