RIP Setanta, 1990-2009: A Victim Of ‘Cheap Opportunism’


It took on BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) as a plucky challenger in the battlefield of live sports, but at 6 pm on Tuesday Setanta’s channels went off air as the company’s UK division fell into administration following a failed £20 million rescue attempt last week.

Adminstrator Deloitte said yesterday it’s working to close down the UK business; the total cost to shareholders will be £450 million while 200 jobs in the UK will go. The jobs of 60 ITN staff contracted to Setanta Sports News are under threat, though ITN says it will look to redeploy people where it can. It’s a far cry from the bold optimism of 2006 when the company paid £392 million for a third of all English Premier League live games.

What went wrong? Everyone involved in Setanta must now admit that taking on BSkyB with such quick growth — fuelled by short-term VC and PE money — was a high risk strategy. Sky COO Mike Darcey says (via Times Online) that the broadcaster was guilty of

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