Feb 252013

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.

Feb 032013

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.

Jan 132013

ESPN and ITV have confirmed the 2012/13 FA Cup Fourth Round ties for live broadcast over the weekend 26/27 January.

2012/13 FA Cup Fouth Round Broadcast Schedule (Kick off times indicated)

Saturday 26 January 2013

Crystal Palace or Stoke City v Manchester City (12.45pm) – ITV

West Ham Utd or Man Utd v Fulham or Blackpool (5.30pm) – ESPN

Sunday 27 January

Brentford or Southend United v Chelsea (12pm) – ESPN

Leeds Utd or Birmingham City v Tottenham Hotspur (2pm) – ESPN

Oldham Athletic v Liverpool (4pm) – ITV

Jan 032013

2012/13 FA Cup Third Round Broadcast Schedule

Saturday 5 January 2013
Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United (12.30) – ITV
West Ham United v Manchester United (5.15) – ITV

Sunday 6 January 2013
Swansea City v Arsenal (1.30) – ESPN
Mansfield Town v Liverpool (4.00) – ESPN

Monday 7 January 2013
Cheltenham Town v Everton (7.45) – ESPN