BT continues to challenge BSkyB for sports rights
by acquiring ESPN channels
BT Sport viewers will be able to watch FA Cup, Scottish Premier League, Europa League and German Bundesliga games
Monday 25 February 2013
BT's emergence as a serious challenger to BSkyB for sports rights continued today after it was announced that the telecommunications giant has acquired ESPN's UK and Ireland TV channels business.
It means that as well as showing 38 Premier League matches from next season, BT Sport viewers will also be able to watch sport currently on ESPN including the FA Cup, Scottish Premier League, Europa League and the German Bundesliga.
Marc Watson, chief executive of BT television, said: "We are delighted to have reached agreement with ESPN for the acquisition of their UK channels business and that we have been able to add some exciting new sports rights to the ones we already have.
"The FA Cup, Scottish Premier League and Europa League rights will allow us to offer customers of BT Sport even more quality live football, including our first games from the Scottish top flight and our first European competition rights.
"There will also be the best of US sports available courtesy of this deal, which will further broaden the appeal of BT Sport."
The deal is expected to completed on July 31 after which BT will continue to operate at least one ESPN-branded channel which is expected to form part of the BT Sport TV package to be launched this summer.
The ESPN channels will be broadcast from BT Sport's new home in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.
"Until completion, the service for current subscribers to the ESPN channels across all television platforms remains unchanged," said a BT statement.
BT, whose new sport operation is based at the London Olympics broadcast center, said at least one of its channels will continue to carry the ESPN name. The deal does not include ESPN Classic, which will close.
"We could not be more proud of the TV channels built and nurtured by our talented team over the past four years," said Ross Hair, ESPN's managing director in Europe, Middle East and Africa. "The value of that hard work is reflected in this deal with BT and the continuation of ESPN on television screens across the UK and Ireland."
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Manchester United player ratings: Match-winner Eden Hazard leads the way, but Radamel Falcao endures game to forget
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0: Eight things we learnt as Blues step closer to the Premier League title
Louis van Gaal gives increasingly intense interview as irritation with BBC grows following Manchester United defeat to Chelsea
David Moyes: I had to fight to STOP Wayne Rooney leaving Manchester United to join Chelsea in 2013
Arsenal transfer news: Mikel Arteta needs 'five minutes' to sign new contract and remain with the Gunners
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate