The BBC remains hopeful of securing a deal with the Football Association for the live FA Cup ties that became available when Setanta went bust in June. The matter was discussed at an FA board meeting but the tortuous negotiations will drag on. The FA is determined not to be rushed and, should they continue beyond the third round, will repeat its experiment of rounds one and two - streaming games online and selling an extra match to ITV.
ITV, which wrote down the value of its £275m deal by £50m, is keen that the BBC does not pick up the rights at a knockdown price. There is also the issue over which broadcaster shows the final.
With ITV inevitably reluctant to go head-to-head, a possible compromise could be for the commercial broadcaster to show two finals and the BBC one during the remaining years of the deal.
While the BBC appears the preferred option, ESPN remains on the sidelines and could swoop with a late bid if talks break down, claims The Guardian.