BT have today announce the acquisition of ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV channels business, comprising of the ESPN and ESPN America channels, and their live sports rights portfolio.
The transaction is after which BT will continue to operate at least one ESPN-branded channel which is expected to form part of the BT Sport TV package that will be launched by BT this summer.
Chief Executive of Television at BT Retail, Marc Watson, 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.”
“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.”
Managing Director of ESPN in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Ross Hair, said: “We could not be more proud of the TV channels built and nurtured by our talented team over the past four years. The value of that hard work is reflected in this deal with BT and the continuation of ESPN on television screens across the UK and Ireland. The same passion, commitment and innovation will be at the heart of how we develop our strong digital media business into the future.”
Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory clearance – it’s expected to complete on July 31st, 2013.