AP, Tuesday, June 23, 2009 3 PM
ESPN will broadcast live Premier League matches for the first time in Britain after gaining rights from financially troubled Setanta Sports. The Premier League announced that ESPN, owned by The Walt
Disney Co., will televise 46 matches next season and 23 in each of the three seasons from 2010-13 in its first major contract to broadcast live sports in Britain.
football is one of the world's most sought after sports properties," said Russell Wolff
, ESPN International's executive vice president and managing director. "This
move demonstrates our commitment to British sports fans and our ongoing commitment to delivering football to fans around the world across a variety of media." Premier League chief executive
said: "The timescale of our process was tight to say the least, and it is to the great credit of ESPN that they committed themselves to adding Premier League
football to their already impressive portfolio of sports rights,"
Neither party released financial details, but ESPN will reportedly match the revenue due from the previous deal by
paying $212 million next season, followed by $260 million in the subsequent years of the contract. ESPN already has two channels in Britain, one with American sports and another with archived action.
A third channel will launch at the start of the soccer season on Aug. 15. ESPN is also interested acquiring Scottish Premier League rights, lost by Setanta on Monday after it failed to make a payment
of 3 million pounds ($5 million).
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