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ESPN step in to snap up Setanta Premiership games

ESPN have been awarded all of the live Premier League matches formerly held by Setanta.

ESPN, the Disney-owned broadcaster, have not only outbid BSkyB to win both the two packages of live games for next season, 46 in all, but in a surprise move by the Premier League also won Setanta's package of 23 matches per season for the 2010-13 period.

It is understood the deals will see the ESPN cover the £159million Setanta were due to pay for 2010-13, minus the deposit already paid by Setanta, plus the money outstanding on the 46 games for next season. Overall, the top-flight clubs will neither lose out nor gain financially.

ESPN's success now sees a heavyweight broadcaster with huge resources and long experience in sports rights pitted as a potential rival for Sky for Premier League rights in the long term.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said in a statement: "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.

"I would like to thank ESPN, as well as all the other broadcasters who submitted bids, for their professionalism and effort in engaging in our sales process at such short notice.

"The timescale of our process was tight to say the least, and it is to the great credit of ESPN that they committed themselves to adding Barclays Premier League football to their already impressive portfolio of sports rights.

"The speed at which we have been able to conclude this deal means that the preparations for next season will be able to continue without interruption and fans and clubs will have certainty over the broadcasting of Barclays Premier League matches for the next four seasons."



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