Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

ESPN ready for Premiership kick-off

US broadcaster ESPN has finalised deals to launch its new UK sports channel, which will screen live Premier League and Scottish Premier League football.

The Disney-owned broadcaster has now agreed deals with all the main UK pay-television channels to carry the channel, which was launched after ESPN won the right to broadcast some football matches following the collapse of Irish sports broadcaster Setanta Sports in June.

Following deals with BSkyB and Virgin Media, ESPN said it had reached agreement with BT Vision, the telecoms giant’s service that couples Freeview with broadband on-demand content.

It has also struck a deal with Top Up TV, which provides a range of pay TV content to Freeview.

ESPN has bought the exclusive rights to the 46 Live Barclays Premier League matches in the 2009/10 season and 23 matches a season from 2010-2013. It will also screen 30 live games from the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Lynne Frank, managing director for ESPN in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “ESPN is a must-have for fans and we are thrilled that the channel is going to be available on BT Vision and other major television platforms.”

Peter Morris, BT consumer director in Northern Ireland, added: “We want BT Vision to offer all-round entertainment — which includes the very best of sport. So the new deal with ESPN is great news for customers.”