The star-studded International Swimming League has been threatened with legal action by a British digital agency over unpaid fees.
LiveWire Sport, whose clients also include the Premier League, Wimbledon and the Jockey Club, says it is owed a six-figure sum by the ISL.
The ISL, whose swimmers include Britain’s Adam Peaty and fellow Olympic champions Chad le Clos and Sarah Sjostrom, says it is in talks with LiveWire over a payment plan.
The glitzy competition was launched last year by Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin and season two is currently underway.
“In our nine-year history we have never been forced into considering such drastic measures and it would be incredibly disappointing to have to take these steps,” LiveWire said.
“ISL has launched season two of the league but has yet to meet their obligations to LiveWire Sport for season one.
“It is unfortunate that things have got to this stage, but we have been left with no choice but to look at recovering the debts owed to us by ISL through our lawyers.”
During the ISL’s debut season LiveWire provided services including social media and content production.
“We are puzzled to receive this information as we are in proactive and constructive discussions with LiveWire to structure a payment plan including compensation for this unfortunate delay,” the ISL said.
“Against all the odds, we have managed to safely and successfully launch season 2020 in Budapest despite coronavirus decimating the sports events business, ensuring our athletes receive much-needed financial support in these difficult times.
“With all our partners we have found solutions and we are sure a solution will be found here as well.”
What is the International Swimming League?
Billed as a more exciting and lucrative iteration of swimming, the ISL launched to much fanfare last year and held its first event in October 2019.
Ten city-based franchises, including London Roar, LA Current and Tokyo Frog Kings, compete with squads of 16 men and 16 women.
Big names such as Peaty signed up, despite initial opposition from swimming’s world governing body Fina, which later gave its blessing.
The second season of ISL is currently taking place in a biosecure bubble in Budapest, where it is due to conclude on 22 November.