ESPN, the U.S.-based sports broadcasting behemoth, wants to buy the exclusive UK rights to broadcasting English Premier League games, according to various reports across the Web. Britain's BSkyB and Ireland's Setanta Sports currently hold those rights through the 2009-10 season. Together, the companies paid a record $3.4 billion to acquire the EPL rights last season; under the deal, BSkyB pays around $9.6 million per game, while Setanta pays roughly $5.6 million. The next contract will undoubtedly go for more, as the EPL gains popularity both domestically and abroad.
In an interview with the Financial Times, ESPN President George Bodenheimer called the Premier League a "fabulous property," adding that the network wants to boost its European audience. "We're going to work on getting as local as we can. We want to deliver product that is relevant in each country," Bodenheimer said in the interview. "It's a country-by-country approach. We want to be investors wherever the top sports product is." ESPN's European reach is currently 10 million homes; adding the EPL would obviously extend that figure -- a lot.