ESPN Insider Confirms UK Premier League TV Bid


An insider source at ESPN has revealed that the Disney-owned company is planning on bidding for one to two of the six UK TV packages available for the 2010-2013 Premier League seasons, according to Bloomberg.

While the news hardly comes as a surprise to regular readers of EPL Talk, we at least now have confirmation that ESPN will battle against Setanta and Sky Sports to decide who’ll share the license rights. Once the final decision is made by the Premier League this summer, the international TV rights will be decided which will have a massive impact on nations worldwide, including the United States where massive changes are projected. Out goes Fox Soccer Channel. In comes ESPN for U.S. TV rights to our favorite league.

If ESPN does capture a portion of the TV rights deals in the United States and United Kingdom, the media company will need to create its own distinct soccer channels either by rebranding its networks in Europe and the United States, or creating brand new ones.

For better or worse, big changes are on the horizon for football fans in the United Kingdom and United States.

7 thoughts on “ESPN Insider Confirms UK Premier League TV Bid”

  1. They will probably use ESPN 2 for big matches and ESPN Classic for season games, classic will most likely split duties as soccer and other sports, can't see a 24/7 soccer on ESPN…

    Its interesting to find ads all over the NYC subway for Setanta. and they feature four players. Rooney, Lampard, Eboue and Zaki of Wigan. You can now get Setanta on RCN in Manhattan, and Fios in suburban NJ.

  2. This will be a disappointment to people in the UK, who are still coming to terms with having to pay for two channels to get their live footy.

    I'm sure Setanta and Sky will both end up with at least one package each, so if ESPN get one too, that's going to be three channels.

    Here in the US, I'm enjoying the status quo of FSC and Setanta.

  3. Did anyone else notice that ESPNews is showing scores for England, Spain, and Italy in the scroll ticker on the weekend. I'm in the habit of recording games on DVR and watching later, but was at lunch Sunday where I saw the scores and it ruined the results for me. I also saw them discussing the EPL table at one point. I couldn't hear them, but they were displaying the table on the full screen. ESPN(the mother ship) also had a couple of items on their ticker on Wednesday that I read while at the gym.

    I would welcome a third network covering world wide football. It would be great for exposure with ESPN cross-promoting the sport on SportsCenter.

  4. They should just get rid of ESPNU or convert it into ESPN World or something of that sort..

    ESPNU just shows nearly all the college sports not many people really care about and the broadcast team can be at times amateurish at best.

    I would vote for one of their channels to change and also air the big match ups on ESPN2 so they can be viewed in HD..

  5. This is awful. ESPN obviously wants money, but they don't care whatsoever for soccer. Their personalities ridicule soccer at any opportunity. (Hell, they don't even know how to pronounce Juventus, “Juh-ven-tuhs,” I kid you not.) Jim Rome introduced a soccer story by explaining how a soccer player's actions have further shamed his “so-called sport.” Worst of all is the thought of egotistical ESPN using its own pathetic soccer announcers. I can't see the Premier League denying their bid, since ESPN is clearly larger than FSC and Setanta (combined), but it would mean the world to true soccer fans for ESPN to be denied the ability to ruin yet another sport.

  6. I will lament losing our independence from ESPN if all of a sudden FSC and Setanta lose the rights or part of the package.
    It is a badge of honor that us real football fans have our own channel that we know shows proper football and even though its not perfect, we can feel at home at….
    but to now be sandwiched on ESPN's schedule would be a disaster for football in this country…can you see events like this happening
    It's monday afternoon at 4:30 ET….15 mins to go of the monday night game…Newcastle 2 Liverpool 2 ….cracking game, packed house, fully committed teams….meanwhile…
    Brett Farve is holding a press conference to announce that he is going to shave



  7. Does ESPN have problems? Of course. Many problems. But the exposure of ESPN covering the sport, and therefore promoting the sport would be tremendous. I think they would hire the local announcers for the matches and make an honest effort to cover the sport. Would some people on ESPN still ridicule football? Of course. That will never end. They have people who ridicule hockey, yet they still cover it in Sportscenter and various other programs.

    ESPN getting the broadcast rights to the EPL or Serie A or La Liga would immediately make those leagues and the sport of Football relevant and visible to everyone in this country. Would it turn us into a footy-crazy nation? No, but it would expose the sport to millions who don't get FSC or Setanta, and the fanbase would continue to grow and expand.

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