Live matches on TV to double after ESPN agrees three-year deal

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The Independent Online

Premier Rugby has struck a new three-year broadcasting deal with ESPN and limited the potentially crippling financial impact of Setanta's collapse.

The agreement comes into force at the start of next season and will see ESPN broadcast 43 matches exclusively live, including one semi-final and the Premiership final.

Sky Sports will show the other semi-final as part of its package of 26 live games, more than doubling the number of televised Premiership matches from this season's 33.

ESPN has effectively taken over the arrangement Premier Rugby struck with Setanta before the Irish pay-tv channel folded in the summer.