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BT snaps up ESPN live sports catalogue but will keep channel alive

ESPN’s British, American and European live sports roster will transfer to the new BT Sport package this summer, with the promise of at least one ESPN-branded channel staying on air.

Football including the English FA Cup, Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and the German Bundesliga will join BT’s 38 annual live Barclays Premier League matches from August 1.

The deal also includes the ESPN America line-up, featuring NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football and NASCAR motor racing.

BT snaps up ESPN live sports catalogue but will keep channel alive
End of the line for ESPN?

Read more about ESPN and the BT Sport channelMarc Watson, chief executive of television for BT Retail, said: “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.”

BT said it will keep at least one channel with the ESPN branding – ESPN America is the obvious candidate, since the deal doesn’t include ESPN Classic, the archive sports channel which is due to be wound down outside the USA.

The deal will have to be cleared by UK broadcasting and competition regulators, and BT has not yet revealed pricing or availablility of its sports package on BT Vision or other services.

ESPN will continue to own and operate its existing online multisport news and information portals, including ESPN.co.uk, ESPNcricinfo  for cricket, football site ESPNFC, ESPNscrum for rugby, ESPNF1 for Formula 1 and broadband streaming service ESPN Player.

[American readers please note, in this article ‘football’ refers to the internationally-recognised sport also known within the USA as ‘soccer’.]

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