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(See our earlier stories and comments for more background on this story:  Setanta's Circumstances Worsen and Setanta Looks For Survival Formula.  Ed. Note: as of 23 June, Setanta remains on the air for now.  See the comments for a public statement from Setanta.)

On Friday 19 June, Setanta failed to make a required progress payment of £10 million (US$16.5 million ) to the English Premier League.  Despite Setanta having reached agreements with most other rights holders and creditors, the EPL then invoked its legal option to reclaim the current broadcasting rights and thus crippled the UK channel.  This almost certainly means the company will now enter administrative receivership Monday, UK time.  Deloitte are expected to be named administrators.   Previous potential "white knights" have all backed away.  The fate of the US operations are unclear at this hour but it may not survive if the parent does not (barring a last minute sale).   AFL broadcasts in the US and Canada may end at any time

The story is extensively covered in the Financial Times, the BBC, Daily Mail Online, Examiner, Irish Times, Rapid TV News. 

AFANA will be consulting with the AFL and seek ways to save US coverage however fans should now be prepared for the channel to suspend operations at any time and for AFL coverage to end.  We hope it won't but hope is thin at this stage. 

Article last changed on Sunday, September 17, 2017 - 9:00 PM EDT


Posted by Paat K on June 22, 2009

Setanta issued this statement last night (which AFANA reports as it was issued without editing)


Setanta Sports

Setanta Sports USA
Important Customer Message

As has been widely reported in various media channels, Setanta Sports has today had its agreement to broadcast 46 Barclays Premier League matches in the UK terminated.

*This development does not affect our channels and other services in the US. *

Setanta Sports in the US is a separate operation that has separate agreement to show the Barclay's Premier League. Our channels and other services in the US continue to broadcast and our subscribers can still enjoy our programming including the Lions Tour of South Africa and the UEFA U21 European Championship.

New customers are welcome to subscribe to watch some of the world's best soccer and rugby either by contacting our cable and satellite partners or online at

We thank you for your continued interest in Setanta Sports and look forward to bringing you a wealth of sport over the coming months and years.


Posted by jamster.m on June 22, 2009

This is highly reminiscent of when ITVN went bust over a year ago.  We dropped our cable television service to get a satelite provider to continue to receive Setanta and to be able to watch AFL games.  If Setanta does go bust, who knows when anyone in the U.S. will be able to watch any live AFL games in the future.

Posted by admincms on June 22, 2009

I share your concern Jamster but at least in this case, we don't think anyone at Setanta is trying to disappear in the dead of night and most of the employees are doing whatever they can to keep the channel on the air.

While I remain pessimistic, every day the US and Canadian channels keep broadcasting, we are further down the road and that's good.  AFANA will keep reporting and will open channels of communication with the AFL about the future of coverage in the US.  It's worth remembering that few thought we would be able to get the coverage we have now back in early 2006 but we did.  AFANA will keep working on other options and pass those along to the AFL.  We've been doing it for more than 14 years and we'll keep doing it. 

AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Posted by Swans500 on June 23, 2009

Well Setanta in Britain went off the air today , Tuesday. Further info indicates that Setanta Ireland and International will continue to broadcast as usual for the time being.

Their UK Soccer deal has been snapped up by ESPN, who will not be so eager to grab ANY AFL.

So irritating.... as I finally, this year, talked my wife into dropping cable to get DirecTV. Great....soon no Setanta and in Pittsburgh....DirecTV cutting out so bloody often with our eternal thunderstorms....Oh well....cest la vie....

Posted by admincms on June 23, 2009

See the article we posted today:

Setanta UK Enters Administration Setanta US and Can OK For Now 

Whatever happens, we'll make sure that the we keep pushing for AFL coverage.  Things have been worse before and we got through it.  We'll get through this and things got better in the aftermath.  If we as fans stick together, we'll be fine.

ESPN's decision in the UK to buy the EPL rights will have no impact either way on whether they carry the AFL in the US.  It's simply not relevant in their decision making.  Further, AFANA does not expect ESPN to be an option in the near term for AFL coverage regardless of what happens to Setanta. 

AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Posted by Rob Farmer (not verified) on June 25, 2009

If Setanta does suddenly disappear, there's an internet option. Aussie Sport TV uploads all AFL games, albeit on about a 3 day delay. With high speed internet and a VGA cable, the matches can be viewed in extremely good quality on a high def TV. I pay $10 per month for my subscription. TV is still preferable as the quality is slightly better, but this does work well as a stop gap measure.
Posted by admincms on June 25, 2009

Thanks for posting that reminder for fans.   AFANA is an affiliate of Aussie Sport TV and readers can subscribe:  here.  When you do and use the link in this post, AFANA benefits and it helps keep us going as we depend on your donations and the funds we can raise through advertising and methods like this. (We receive no funding from the AFL!)

A few important notes though:  Aussie Sport TV is the AFL's online service and as such is very particular about the hardware and software on your PC and not all users have reported it works for them.    A search of our site will provide lots of info on that and suggestions for how to get it to work for you.   Try this search and this and this for links to relevant pages on this site.

More importantly, ASTV is not a substitute for live coverage on Setanta and if we lose it, we lose the free AFL coverage provided by MHz Networks and America One to over 150 US ciites, too.  That means many fans, who now get one match per week free (on delay) lose that, too.   If you are thinking:  "I didn't know the AFL was free to air in that many places in the US" then you should go to our Television Info page and read the sections on MHz and America One.  It also means that Canadian fans lose all their coverage!. So, it is not as easy as just turning to the internet, at least not yet.   AFANA worked for 11 years to get live coverage and we are doing everything we can to keep it going. 

AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

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