Setanta Sports has brought in former Emap chief executive Robin Miller as its new chairman. The troubled broadcaster has a month to bring in new financing and renegotiate key sports deals. These include the Scottish Premier League and the PGA Golf Tour.
The ambitious Irish broadcaster began in 1990 targeting the Irish pubs market, but came to the fore with the acquisition of two of the six available Premier League packages, following a ruling from the European Commission that restricted any one broadcaster to a maximum of five packages. Setanta’s challenge to the dominance of Sky Sports took a knock when it only to secure one package from the start of the 2010-11 season. It is currently looking to defer a £60 million payment due to the Premier League under the terms of the current contract.
In addition to an estimated 1.2 million premium subscribers, Setanta has a sweetheart deal with Virgin Media, which distributes the suite of channels as part of its big basic package. Virgin also owns 50% of Setanta Sports News, the future of which must also be under question, given the cablenet’s own desire to sell its content business.
The two main Setanta channels, Setanta Sports 1 and Setanta Sports 2, achieved a share of 0.3% and 0.1% respectively on the Barb rating system for the week ending April 19. By comparison Sky Sports 1 and 2 achieved 0.9% and 0.6%.