Sports broadcaster ESPN is reportedly in talks to sell its UK sports rights as speculation over the future of its UK channels mount.
ESPN UK lost out on Premiership Football and other rights following BT’s entry to the sports rights market last year. Coverage of Premier League matches on ESPN UK ends this May, leaving the channel with a reduced portfolio of sports rights.
According to a report in media journal Broadcast today, the broadcaster is now in negotiations with other parties, thought to include BT and Sky, to sell its remaining rights to events including FA Cup and SPL matches. Any transfer of rights would have to approved by the relevant authorities who originally awarded the rights to ESPN.
The reports have raised fears that ESPN’s UK channels might close following the end of the current football season.
ESPN has been on air in its current format since 2009, when it acquired numerous sports rights following Setanta’s collapse in June of that year. Before then, it operated ESPN America as a standalone channel showcasing sport from its U.S. service.