Setanta Sports is in last-minute talks to find a sponsor for its coverage of the FA Cup after energy company e.on pulled out.
E.on, the official sponsor of the Football Association’s flagship tournament, was offered first refusal on the broadcast sponsorship.
Setanta and ITV beat incumbents the BBC and BSkyB to secure the rights for the FA Cup and England home games from this season for an estimated £425m over four years.
It is thought that Setanta, whose sales house is Virgin Media Television-owned IDS, has held talks with brands including rival energy companies.
E.on is understood to be close to signing a deal to sponsor FA Cup matches broadcast on ITV, but a company spokesman says it “isn’t looking at a commercial partnership with Setanta”. But another source suggests that e.on may be tempted back to the negotiating table over fears that a rival will snap up the rights.
The sponsorship is one of Setanta’s biggest properties, thought to be worth over £2m, and covers at least 25 games a year. ITV was understood to be asking around £10m to £12m for its package of rights.