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Info ESPN secures more football TV rights - 29-July-2009, 15:10

ESPN secures more football TV rights

By Andrew Laughlin, Technology Reporter

ESPN has secured TV rights to show football from the German, Russian, Portuguese and Dutch top divisions, alongside the remainder of the US Major League Soccer season.

Coverage from the four leagues for 2009/10 - and the rest of the MLS action up to November - will be shown on the firm's forthcoming ESPN channel, along with its English Premier League and Scottish Premier League matches.

The station will officially launch on August 3 in standard definition and high definition at 417 and 443 respectively on Sky's EPG.
Ahead of this, the Disney-owned network has agreed a multi-year deal with Germany's Bundesliga for five live games per week, including a "selection of HD matches, plus weekly preview and highlight packages".

It has also negotiated a UK and Ireland exclusive deal with the Portuguese Liga and an arrangement with IMG for two Dutch games per week from the Eredivisie, as well as full live coverage from the Russian Premier League.
The MLS coverage will include five playoff games to the end of the season, alongside action from the MLS Cup championship and ten matches featuring David Beckham's LA Galaxy, starting with their tie against New England on August 8 at 11pm.

To mark ESPN's opening weekend, the channel will show the Italian SuperCup between Seria A champions Inter Milan and Coppa Italia winners Lazio, with live coverage from The Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, starting at 1pm on August 8.

Alongside this, the station will show pre-season friendly games from Real Madrid's tour of North America - including live matches against Toronto FC on August 7 and DC United on August 9 - as well as Benfica's warm-up match against AC Milan on August 8 and Tottenham Hotspur's contest against Olympiakos on August 9.

ESPN EMEA vice president of TV channels Jereon Oerlemans said: "We are delighted to bring viewers in the UK and Ireland access to a further lineup of some of the world's finest footballers and top clubs.

"We feel these deals represent an excellent addition to ESPN as we look to build the channel with great local and international sports."
The broadcaster also plans to "make its new live sports coverage widely available across multiple pay-TV platforms", including carriage negotiations already being underway with Virgin Media and BT Vision.

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