(Update 4-June: Legal action looms closer: See the Daily Record and Evening Times and Scottish Sun and The Independent. The default date appears to be Monday after which legal action could commence. Even if that is avoided, another much larger payment will be due in mid-month. Update 12-June and 15-June: see comments.)
The British newspaper the Guardian reported today that Setanta failed to make a scheduled progress payment to the Scottish Premier League (SPL). (See our earlier reports on Setanta's financial problems here.) It's not clear what impact this will have to on-going operations including those in the USA and Canada or for AFL coverage. At this time, programming seems to be continuing on all of their networks and AFL coverage does not appear to be affected. However, since this failure to make the payment could place them in default to the SPL, it is not out of the question that they could be forced into receivership (bankruptcy) at any time. (Ed. note: as early as Monday 8 June.) The SPL is a much smaller financial obligation than the English Premier League and much larger than the AFL.
AFANA is monitoring the situation daily. We have not had any communication from Setanta recently so we do not have any particular insight into what is going on at the US offices. If we do not receive schedule updates as expected this week that would be a sure sign of further difficulty and raise our concern level. (Ed. note: received as expected this week.)
There isn't much fans can do at this point (other than subscribe to Setanta) to change the situation. Since coverage of the AFL on MHz Networks and America One also depends on the live feeds Setanta provides, the loss of AFL coverage on Setanta might end all AFL coverage in North America. Further, all of the AFL coverage in North America, Ireland, and the UK is under one contract. As a result, the possible implications of receivership in the UK are even more difficult to determine for fans in the USA and Canada. AFANA will be in touch with the AFL on the possible impact to fans and continue to report on further developments.
Article last changed on Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 11:32 PM EST