New television deal for FA Cup - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

New television deal for FA Cup

The Football Association have agreed a four-year deal television deal with ESPN, worth in the region of £35m, to broadcast FA Cup ties.

The deal will begin in the summer of 2010, running through until the end of the 2013-14 season, and will sit alongside the existing contract for The FA Cup and England senior games held by ITV until 2012, filling the void created by the demise of Setanta.

ESPN will show live, exclusive coverage of up to 25 FA Cup matches per season, including one exclusive semi-final match, while the FA Cup final will simultaneously be broadcast on both ESPN and ITV.

This season's competition, which sees the Barclays Premier League sides enter in the third-round stage on January 2, will continue to be broadcast on ITV, who will show three live games from the third to fifth round - one additional game - and all games from the quarter-final stage onwards.

The additional games broadcast by ITV had been due to be shown by Setanta, which collapsed in June, one year into a four-year deal worth in the region of £150million.

The new contract, which was agreed today, includes rights to show all England Under-21 home fixtures and the forthcoming women's Super League, which launches in 2011.

FA chief executive Ian Watmore said: "We are extremely pleased to have added ESPN to our list of broadcast partners.

"As a global broadcaster, who have already demonstrated a strong presence in the UK, ESPN will give our football great visibility and we look forward to an excellent partnership with them.

"Whilst it's a very different market to two years ago, we have nevertheless taken our time and as a result have received some strong, credible bids."

Alongside their coverage of The FA Cup, ITV will continue to broadcast all England home qualifying matches through until the end of the 2011-12 season as well as home and away friendly internationals (home friendlies were previously held by Setanta).

When the agreement begins in 2010-11, ESPN will televise two FA Cup matches in the first and second rounds (plus up to two replays per round), three matches from the third to fifth rounds (plus up to one replay), two FA Cup quarter-finals (plus up to one replay) and one semi-final for each of the next four seasons.

ITV will continue to broadcast one match in the first and second round, two matches from the third to fifth rounds, two quarter-finals and one semi-final.

Meanwhile, FATV will continue to broadcast one or two games per round up to the fifth round via the Football Association's official website, www.thefa.com and will continue to host games online in the future as the project expands.

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