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To follow up on my last post, more on Setanta.

Bids close on Monday for the rights to broadcast 46 live English Premier League games in the 2009/10 season that were to have been shown by Setanta.

The league took the broadcasting rights back from Setanta on Friday after it missed a payment deadline.

BSkyB and ESPN are the front-runners to buy rights to 23 games each.

The board of Setanta is meeting on Monday to look at ways of saving the company, which is estimated to be losing £100m a year.

Deloitte has been lined up to act as administrator if it fails.

The Premier League expects to announce the winners of the auction of live games by the end of the week.

BSkyB is expected to buy the package of Monday night games, which it has already won from 2010-11 onwards.

EU rules mean that BSkyB cannot own all the rights, however, and Disney-owned ESPN are favourites to buy the games which take place at Saturday teatime.

ESPN has refused to comment directly on whether it will bid for Premier League rights, but has said it is “interested in rights where they are available and where they make business sense”.

Other rights

Attention could now turn to the other broadcasting rights that Setanta owns, including the 23 English Premier League games a season that it is due to broadcast for the three seasons starting in 2010/11.

It also has contracts with the FA for England and FA Cup matches, the Scottish Premier League (SPL), and the Blue Square Premier, the top division of English non-league football.

It recently missed a £3m payment due to the SPL – part of a four-year deal worth £54m over four years from 2006 to 2010.

Setanta also owns rights to the PGA golf tour, as well as cricket and rugby union deals.

It is running at an estimated loss of £100m a year, after missing subscriber targets.

The broadcaster has 1.2 million subscribers, 700,000 short of the 1.9 million that industry experts believe they need to break even.

Source: BBC

Archived: Setanta live games up for grabs - archived