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ESPN snaps up Premier League TV packages

ESPN has won the rights to broadcast 46 live Premier League matches in the United Kingdom for the 2009-10 season, and has also been awarded a contract for the 2010-13 seasons. The sports broadcaster, parent company of Soccernet, picked up both 23-match packages on offer in Monday's auction. ESPN's 46 live games will be split between Saturday evenings and Monday nights in the coming season. For the three seasons from 2010-11 to 2012-13 ESPN has the rights to a single package of 23 matches previously awarded to Setanta. The Premier League ended its association with Setanta on Friday after it failed to meet a final deadline over a £30m payment which had been due this month. Setanta was also stripped of its Scottish Premier League contract on Monday. "We are clearly delighted that our bid for exclusive media rights to the Barclays Premier League matches in the UK has been successful," said Lynne Frank, ESPN Managing Director in Europe, Middle East and Africa. "This is a huge step for our business, and we look forward to working with the Premier League, football clubs and distributors to bring UK sports fans all the excitement they expect in Premier League football." "Premier League football is one of the world's most sought after sports properties, and we are very excited to be expanding our business in the UK with England's top football product," said Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International. "This move demonstrates our commitment to British sports fans and our ongoing commitment to delivering football to fans around the world across a variety of media." Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "The Premier League is extremely pleased to have added ESPN as a UK rights holder. They have a formidable worldwide reputation and experience in sports and I am sure we will enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with them." ESPN plans to make its Barclays Premier League coverage widely available across multiple pay-TV platforms. As a first step to this distribution strategy, ESPN has reached an agreement for its coverage to be retailed by Sky to residential and commercial customers. • For further information, click on