BT buys ESPN’S UK and Ireland TV channels:
BT has continued its expansion into sports broadcasting, acquiring ESPN’S UK and Ireland TV channels business in a deal understood to be worth just over £10m.
The deal includes ESPN and ESPN America channels and their live sports rights including the FA Cup, Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and the German Bundesliga
The telecoms company will continue to broadcast at least one ESPN-branded channel after the deal’s expected completion date of 31 July, as part of its BT Sport package of services.
BT will also show NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football and NASCAR, which are currently shown on ESPN America.
The channel will be broadcast from Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where BT Sport is situated.
BT Sport recently made waves with the purchase of 38 live Barclays Premier League matches – including 18 of the top clashes for the next three seasons.
However, ESPN Classic, which is not part of the BT deal, is expected to cease transmission across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
BT is understood to be paying “low tens of millions” to acquire Disney-owned ESPN’s UK and Ireland business.
Disney revealed earlier this month that it was “exploring an exit” from the UK TV sport market after ESPN lost several big broadcast rights deals including live Premier League football.
Until the deal is completed, the service provided to existing ESPN subscribers will remain unchanged.