ESPN wins rights to Premier League games

| June 23, 2009 | 0 Comments

Disney-owned ESPN has won the bidding war for broadcasting rights and secured the two remaining packages which comprise the 46 matches for the 2009/10 season and 23 matches per season from 2010/11 to 2012/13.

The games will be shown on Saturday afternoons and Monday evenings - both packages will be sold to customers via BSkyB.

The games were due to be shown by Irish pay-TV sports broadcaster Setanta but the English Premier League terminated its deal with the broadcaster last week after failing to meet its financial obligations.

It has not been disclosed how much the US broadcaster paid for the rights but there was speculation that it fell short of the fee Setanta was paying.

In a statement, ESPN said it had “reached an agreement for its coverage to be retailed by Sky to residential and commercial customers”, who will pay extra to view the games.

Commenting on the deal, Russell Wolff, MD of ESPN International, said: “This move demonstrates our commitment to British sports fans and our ongoing commitment to delivering football to fans around the world across a variety of media.”

Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, added that the US broadcaster had a “formidable worldwide reputation and experience in sports”.

Meanwhile, returning to Setanta, it emerged last night that the Scottish Premier League (SPL) has also pulled the plug on its live football deal.

Setanta’s board has been in discussions over the last few days to explore ways of saving the company. The company employs 430 people, as well as 700 call centre workers. Deloitte is on standby should the firm enter administration.

However, should Setanta cease operation, it would lead to broadcasting rights for a number of other sporting events becoming available, which includes England games, FA Cup matches, US PGA golf and, from 2010, Guinness Premiership rugby.

Tags: BSkyB, Setanta

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