ESPN has agreed a rights deal with the Football Association to broadcast live FA Cup games from next season (2010 - 2011)

According to The Guardian, ESPN has picked up the rights previously owned by Setanta, which collapsed in August just one year into a £150m, four-year deal with the FA.

England's football governing body also received a BBC Sport proposal for the rights, but budget constraints at the corporation and ESPN's financially stronger offer swung the deal in favour of the US firm. An FA board meeting will formally agree the deal today.

From the 2010/11 season, ITV will still have first choice of FA Cup matches, but ESPN will be able to broadcast two live games from every round.

As ESPN's Premier League games allocation will be reduced from 46 to just 23 next season, the FA Cup matches will provide an important lure for retaining and growing its subscriber base.