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SBD/Issue 191/Sports Media
ESPN Picks Up All EPL Rights In U.K. Previously Owned By Setanta
Published June 23, 2009
|ESPN Has Reportedly Matched Prices
Agreed Upon By Setanta For EPL Rights
BREAKING DOWN THE DEAL: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Aaron Patrick notes ESPN's purchase of the rights "could mark a big step forward for its international expansion." While ESPN's sports coverage has "made it a success in the U.S., the network draws tiny ratings in Britain," where it only has two channels: ESPN America and ESPN Classic. Meanwhile, Patrick notes ESPN's deal "puts the network in the unusual position of competing" with BSkyB, also an EPL rights holder, while at the same time relying on the net to "reach viewers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/23). PAID CONTENT's Patrick Smith noted the deal "doesn't mean UK customers will get many new online live or VOD services such as ESPN360," because these rights "allow cross-platform linear coverage only." Broadcasters can show games "online simultaneously as part of a subscription package" (PAIDCONTENT.org, 6/22). SOCCER BY IVES' Ives Galarcep wrote the deal "does not mean EPL games are coming to ESPN (yet)." Rather, what it "might mean is better coverage of the EPL on programs like SportsCenter, and improved soccer coverage on ESPN as it handles covering the EPL in England" (SOCCERBYIVES.net, 6/22).