BT Group to Acquire ESPN's U.K. and Ireland TV Channels Business
Deal is expected to close July 31
By Tim Baysinger -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/25/2013 4:25:35 PM
The transaction is expected to be completed by July 31. BT will continue to operate at least one ESPN-branded channel that will become part of the BT Sport TV package that will launch this summer. BT will be able to continue to air U.S. sports such as NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football and NASCA, which aired on ESPN America. The deal will allow BT Sport customers to see live coverage of the FA Cup for the 2013-14 season; the Scottish Premier League until the end of the 2016-17 season; and the UEFA Europa League and German Bundesliga through to the end of the 2014-15 season.
ESPN will maintain control of its existing digital media businesses, including ESPN.co.uk, ESPNcricinfo (cricket), ESPNFC (soccer), ESPNscrum (rugby), ESPNF1 (Formula 1) and broadband streaming service ESPN Player. ESPN Classic was not included in the deal.
Marc Watson, chief executive of television, BT Retail, 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."
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