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ESPN selling British channels to BT Group

LONDON -- ESPN is selling its British broadcast operation to the BT Group, although its name will remain on one channel in the country.

The U.S. sports network increased operations in Britain in 2009 after adding some domestic rights to show English Premier League matches.

But ESPN has lost all these key matches starting next season, with BT joining BSkyB as rights holders for the first time.

BT's new channels will show the U.S. sports currently shown on ESPN America, including college basketball, college football and NASCAR.

ESPN did not disclose the value of the BT deal, but said it is expected to be completed by July 31.

Separately, ESPN says it is considering closing down its ESPN Classic channel in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

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