ESPN has reached a three-season agreement with Fox Sports International for multimedia rights to England's Barclays Premier League.
The sublicensing deal, terms of which were not disclosed, covers the 2010-11 through 2012-13 seasons and includes up to 74 live matches each campaign on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, and ESPN Mobile TV.
ESPN's multimedia coverage kicks off Saturday, Aug. 14, at 7:30 a.m. (ET) with the opening match of the 2010-11 campaign: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City, which finished fourth and fifth, respectively, last season. Most of ESPN's coverage of BPL matches will be available in high-definition.
Last October, Fox Sports International, in a renewal deal, secured exclusive U.S. rights to the BPL for Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol, which will officially become Fox Deportes on Oct. 1, and broadband portal Foxsoccer.tv .
In turn, the ESPN agreement represents its second sublicensing deal in the States for England's top futbol circuit in as many years. On the eve of the 2009-10 BPL season, ESPN2 obtained the rights to 48 BPL matches from Fox Soccer International. The games were culled from a package of games the now defunct premium network Setanta USA had sublicensed from Fox.
Premium service Fox Soccer Plus, which also showcases BPL matches, launched on March 1 after Setanta shuttered its operations in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Under the new deal, the typical match windows for the ESPN properties are: Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m. (or 10 a.m. when there are no matches at the earlier time), and weekday afternoons (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) at 2:45 p.m.
Under the new contract, BPL matches will be featured regularly on ESPN Deportes, ESPN's Spanish-language U.S. sports network; ESPN3.com, ESPN's broadband network, currently available in more than 53 million homes; and ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN's 24-7 mobile sports television network;
Select midweek matches will be available exclusively on ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Mobile TV, according to officials at the sports programmer.
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