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ESPN, WABC TV Inks 5 Year Deal to Air NYC Marathon

ESPN and WABC TV have locked up five years' worth of TV rights to the NYC marathon, the first time the race will have been covered live nationally in its entirety on TV in almost 20 years, ESPN pointed out Monday in announcing the deal.

ESPN will air the race nationally, and WABC-TV, which is co-owned with ESPN, will air it in New York, while ABC will broadcast a two-hour highlight show.

The deal begins with the Nov. 4, 2012 race.

The deal comes just as ESPN faces a newly heavied-up competitor for sports rights in the 24-hour arena, Comcast's rebranded Versus, which became the NBC Sports Network at the beginning of this year.