Advanced Television

Setanta makes deposit, will lobby for more rights

February 19, 2009

Sky and Setanta have made deposits guaranteeing the packages they won in an auction for live TV rights from 2010. Setanta plans to complain to domestic and European regulators after it managed to win only one package of 23 matches from 2010, halving its live Premier League coverage. Sky will have 115 live games from 2010.

Analysts believe the loss of the matches will make it more difficult to retain subscribers and insiders have conceded that it is being forced to look into reshaping the business as a result. Balderton Capital, one of its major shareholders, has vowed to “lobby every single group” after missing out on the rights and failing to persuade the Premier League and Sky to reopen the auction process or sub-license the matches.

Media regulator Ofcom is conducting an ongoing review of the pay TV marketplace, while the European Commission will reopen negotiations with the Premier League later this year.

The 2010-2013 contract represents the second half of a six-year deal agreed between EC competition authorities and the League, which guaranteed that the rights must go to more than one bidder.

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