BT Group have today announced their acquisition of ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV channels business, which will consist of both the ESPN and ESPN America channels, as well as their live sports rights portfolio including the FA Cup, Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and the German Bundesliga.
BT said that the acquisition should be completed by July 31st, 2013 after which BT will continue to operate at least one of the current ESPN branded channels, and will likely form a part of the BT Sports TV package, which will launch this summer, the deal will also allow them to broadcast a selection of US sports currently shown on ESPN America, including NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football and NASCAR.
The channels will now be broadcast from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, however until completion of the deal BT has said that current subscribers to the channels will see no changes from the acquisition.
It will mean that BT Sport customers will be able to access live coverage of the “FA Cup for the 2013/14 season, the Clydesdale Bank 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.”
Joining current broadcast rights to shows including the Barclays Premier League, Aviva Premiership Rugby matches and live women’s tennis.
After this deal ESPN will continue to own and operate its existing media businesses.