More importantly for soccer fans in America, having ESPN associated with the soccer network should increase the likelihood that the channel would be more readily available on cable networks nationwide. ESPN’s interest in soccer has increased considerably after a very successful 2006 World Cup campaign with impressive TV ratings, and more coverage of Champions League matches than in previous years.
During the past year, Setanta Sports has achieved some incredible coups by breaking up Sky’s monopoly of the Premiership coverage, which will begin this August with both Setanta and Sky in the UK covering Premier League games. Setanta also recently acquired the rights, alongside ITV, to the England internationals and FA Cup games in the UK beginning next year.
In December 2006, ESPN announced it was acquiring NASN from Setanta. NASN (North American Sports Network) was a European network covering American sports.