ESPN Adds Premier League To Soccer Line Up


ESPN has acquired the TV rights to two of the weekly Premier League slots on US television for the 2009-2010 season. Beginning on August 15, 2009, each week ESPN will feature the 7:45am ET Saturday game and the 3pm ET Monday game.

Those two weekly timeslots were previously held by Setanta Sports who in the past had sub-licensed those games from Fox Soccer Channel. Despite Setanta losing the two timeslots to ESPN, Setanta US will continue showing the two 10am ET Saturday slots (one game on Setanta US, and the other on Setanta Xtra), as well as the early Sunday morning ET kickoffs and the Tuesday and Wednesday midweek Premier League matches. The games shown by Setanta will also be available on its broadband package at

ESPN’s acquisition of the early Saturday morning kickoff and Monday afternoon matches are a massive coup for the Disney-owned company who have significantly increased its soccer coverage recently. ESPN has yet to make a formal announcement regarding the acquisition of the Premier League TV rights (the two timeslots), but will presumably show the games on both ESPN2 and ESPN360.

Here are what games we know for certain that will be shown on ESPN2 between August 15 and November 21 (schedules are subject to change):

Saturday, August 15:

  • Chelsea v Hull City, 7:45am, ESPN2

Monday, August 24:

  • Liverpool v Aston Villa, 3pm, ESPN2

Saturday, August 29:

  • Chelsea v Burnley, 7:45am, ESPN2

Saturday, September 19:

  • Burnley v Sunderland, 7:45am, ESPN2

Saturday, September 26:

  • Portsmouth v Everton, 7:45am, ESPN2

Monday, September 28:

  • Manchester City v West Ham United, ESPN2

Monday, October 5:

  • Aston Villa v Manchester City, 3pm, ESPN2

Saturday, October 17:

  • Aston Villa v Chelsea, 7:45am, ESPN2

Monday, October 19:

  • Fulham v Hull City, 3pm, ESPN2

Saturday, October 24:

  • Wolves v Aston Villa, 7:45am, ESPN2

Saturday, October 31:

  • Arsenal v Tottenham, 6:45am, ESPN2

Monday, November 9:

  • Liverpool v Birmingham City, 3pm, ESPN2

Saturday, November 21:

  • Liverpool v Manchester City, 7:45am, ESPN2

Note: For those Saturday mornings when there isn’t a 7:45am ET game available, ESPN will have first choice of the Saturday 10am game from Setanta Sports.

View the complete listing of Premier League games on US television for August through the end of November (or as complete as we know it at press time).

For supporters of Premier League clubs in the United States, this is wonderful news. Having the games shown on ESPN2 will bring the league into more homes in the United States as well as making games more accessible for TV viewers who are unable to receive Setanta. ESPN2 will kick off the Premier League 2009/2010 season by showing the first game of the season featuring Chelsea against Hull City at 7:45am ET. The game may feature the debut of American striker Jozy Altidore who today signed with Hull City.

For followers of the Premier League in the United States, supporters will need to have Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN2 and Setanta Sports to watch all of the games available. To supplement those networks, it’s advisable that EPL fans also use ESPN360 and Setanta-i.

By Fox Soccer acquiring back the TV rights for the two timeslots from Setanta and sub-licensing them to ESPN, this gives Setanta Sports more financial stability. Setanta US will continue to stay in business this season and, in addition to the Premier League, will be showing Champions League football (via broadband and on TV), Carling Cup, Championship games, World Cup qualifiers, FA Cup and more.

In addition to picking up two of the Premier League TV slots previously held by Setanta Sports, ESPN also picked up the TV and broadband rights to the Australian Football League in the United States and Canada.

The US video rights for the 2010-2013 Premier League seasons have still not been finalized. With ESPN picking up two of the Premier League slots for the 2009-2010 season, the move definitely increases the likelihood that ESPN will mount a serious bid for the 2010-2013 rights when available later this year.

No news yet from ESPN regarding which broadcasters will be presenting the Premier League games and whether they’ll be using in-house commentators calling the games off the screen or if they’ll be using the international commentators feed.

What are your thoughts about ESPN adding the Premier League to its soccer line up, and how will it change your viewing habits if any? Click the comments link below to share your opinion.

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333 thoughts on “ESPN Adds Premier League To Soccer Line Up”

  1. If this is true this is great news. Hopefully ESPN won’t ruin the games by using their own announcers. Of course if they do we’ll be a little lucky for the first couple of weeks before they learn what each players dumps look like so they can interrupt the game for a 30 min comparison between Frank Lampard’s shits and Brett Farve’s shits.

    1. That’s really funny Greg. My sentiments exactly. The manner in which these guys announce a game is freaking embarrassing. You would think that every fan on this side of the Atlantic just discovered football and needed it parsed to them in simple terms. More often than not, I find myself reaching for the mute button even though it takes away from the excitement of the fan noise. Anything to silence those yammers.

  2. This is good news for everyone except MLS whose pathetic .2 ratings are now going to be dwarfed by both EPL and La Liga on the network. It looks like Deportes is advertising some Bundesliga games, so I assume English language Bundesliga will eventually be on ESPN also.

    1. Hopefully, this will cause MLS to figure out that if you spend money on quality players you can get a big tv rights agreement. So, if properly handled by them MLS can expect a pot of gold at the end of ESPN’s rainbow.

  3. Smart move by ESPN to test the waters for a bid for the 2010 rights. It’ll be interesting to see how much the ESPN marketing machine can hype it up with only a week till the season starts. Hopefully it gets good ratings, doesn’t change much for me personally since Man United rarely play those two kickoff times but if they show the games in HD I’ll tune in.

    This also makes me think that Setanta US is on life support. Gonna switch my yearly subscription to monthly when the time comes.

      1. That’s not entirely true. ESPN had shown both the EPL and La Liga before in the mid-late 90s. Some matches were live and others were taped. Most of them in the premiere league were from the Monday evening package.

    1. I don’t know who there source is – but there’s definitely something to this. Setanta axed their listings for the early Saturday and Monday matches. This has been brewing for awhile now, I’m guessing.

  4. this is great news except that my espn2 was removed from my package on Directv and to get it back i have to give up my package that i like. But i guess you win some and loose some, hopefully 360 will cary the game. By the way the have some games from Newcastle on their schedule for Aug 8 and 15.

    1. What type of package do you have? Only the family package doesn’t have ESPN2, unless there is another secret one.

      1. I Have familiar ultra with hd and i got removed. I call today and they say they have no plans of putting it back.

  5. If this move helps Setanta stay in business for the long term, then I like the move. I want Setanta to stick around, not only for EPL, but for all the other soccer & rugby they show. For now this move won’t change my viewing habits very much. I will definitely appreciate the better picture quality on ESPN2 even if it’s only upscaled and not true HD. I wonder if the US rights include the HD feed when available.

  6. And FSCHD to come january 2010. Ossume sauce. Especially since don’t have to pay more than I’m already paying. Just have to sign back up with setanta-I and it will be joyous.

  7. great news no matter which way you look at it
    With German, Spanish and now English league coverage…its going to be a cracking year for the real football fan in the us

  8. If we’re lucky they’ll use the ESPN announcers and studio crews from the UK. They’re rounding up a good cast (Ray Stubbs, etc.) and it’ll be miles better than watching Alexi Lalas and Tommy Smyth.

  9. Incredible news – doesnt affect me especially as I had the games on Setanta but for those without Setanta this is very good news.

    The questions:
    Who commentates? Will I be listening to Tommy Smythe twice a week (goes pale).?
    What about Setanta’s second 10am ET game that they usuallly put on the web or on tape delay at 3? Pity ESPN didnt get that – as then you would have 3 10am ET Games at once on 3 channels….I guess though ESPN show other content of their own at 10am which makes it tricky. I cant imagine they have a lot to show at 7.45 ET or Monday at 3pm.

  10. these are the same time slots for the games ESPN has the rights to in the UK….so I think it’s probably a lcok that they will just pick up the feed from those telecasts….which should mean HD and UK annoucing teams. No Tommy Smyth !

  11. Its a shame that this doesn’t really help me that much – since it shouldn’t show Man United matches because of the match times. But its really a great step for ESPN!

  12. gaffer…any news on possible hd broadcasts?
    FYI Espn 360 showing championship football Newcastle V West Brom on saturday

    1. Thanks for alerting us on Newcastle v W Brom on Espn 360. I think they are showing it live(12:30 ET). Satanta has it but not until later in the day. I remember seeing it ‘live’ on the Setanta schedule, but then they changed it to delayed. ESPN is making moves all over the place.

      1. The Newcastle game is live on Saturday on Setanta Extra (ch622) according to my Direct TV schedule and delayed on the regular Setanta (ch621).

      1. ESPN will announce it either on Friday during the Real Madrid-Toronto game or on its USA-MEX pregame show next Wednesday. Bank on it.

  13. I can’t understand for the life of me how this is good news. Why does everyone want soccer to be a huge US sport. I don’t. I am perfectly happy with my niche sport where I get to see every game each week. The best part is I never have to put up with ESPN jamming stuff down my throat until now. Having the EPL on 3 networks is not good. It just means a more disaggregated market, meaning more difficulty for the consumer. I would rather, Setanta just lose all the games. Ugh.

    1. Kevin, do you also hate when your favorite band goes mainstream?
      This is excellent news. I moved this summer and my new provider doesn’t offer Setanta, so I was really bummed that I’d be missing the early morning Saturday matches and Monday night matches.
      I won’t even be bothered if the games aren’t in HD, since Setanta never had that capability.

    2. It’s not about you really think people who don’t like soccer are going to wake up before 7am to watch it?? No, so it will still be your “niche” sport that you can say you watch by waking up at the crack of dawn. All this means to us soccer fans in the US is more accessibility. I dont have to pay a ridiculous amount of money for setanta and fsc to be added to my packages, I can get it on ESPN, and in HD! This is a great thing!

      1. I probably won’t be waking up before 5am (my time) to watch an EPL game but you can be sure I will be DVRing it.

        //don’t have setant or fsc

  14. 6-1 half dozen the other Kevin…I’m not looking for ESPN to make football popular, in and by itself it will make it more mainstream for sure to have it on ESPN…hopefully the games will be exciting to watch, but I’m more anxious to see who is commentating on the matches to be honest..if they use the ESPN UK feed (PLEASE GOD!) then we will NOT have to listen to commentators trying to explain the game to the perceived handfull of home viewers or sports bar viewers tuning in for their “first” experience….much better off having the espn uk feed as they will be a lot more relaxed and experienced and will not see the need to constantly explain the game to the uk audience.

    1. I agree about getting the UK feed. HD and good announcers would be good. My fear if ESPN wins EPL rights for 2010-2013 is that they’ll show a couple of marquis matches on ESPN and throw the rest up on Espn 360 (which is better than nothing, but not as good as having all the matches on broadcast TV).

  15. I can’t find anything on the for news releases or anything, i hope what he is saying is true, but i want some concrete evidence so that i can believe this possibly great news.

    1. “Jonathan Thomas”:

      “The Gaffer” has sources at every TV network.

      He knows his stuff and he can break news before the PR flacks put out press releases.

      1. well olivert, if what you say is true, i stand corrected, and i also am very excited that i will be able to watch high quality football on “the worldwide leader in sports”.

        1. Jonathan, oh ye of little faith! Just kidding, but the news is true and a formal announcement will be made by ESPN in the coming days.

          EPL Talk has been in business in 2005 and has revealed many exclusives over the years, so no worries — you can trust us.

          The Gaffer

      2. And if olivert is who I think he is, he used to run a website that tracked this stuff, so if anyone can confirm it, it’s him.

  16. There’s not necessarily any reason to believe ESPN will spring for the HD feed given that they’ve been presenting all but the final game of the Champions League in standard def for several seasons now.

    1. good point! But let’s cross our fingers, it’d be so awesome! I watched the Barca vs Seattle Sounders game last night in HD and it looked amazing! Imagine EPL games weekly in HD, wow I’m gettin fired up!

  17. God this is great.

    And if for any reason this turns out to be false, I will start a site promoting the demise of this one.

  18. This news probably came out too late in the day to make a formal announcement this afternoon (it’s almost 6 p.m. on the east coast). I would expect a formal announcement tomorrow.

  19. I think you guys are underestimating ESPN on this… my opinion, FSC is the channel that needs to “grow up”…they’ve been broadcasting soccer directly to a soccer-audience in this country for years, yet they still present there telecasts as if there audience are complete morons and they have to “teach” us about the game and players. I find them utterly annoying in just about every unique show/telecast they do.

    ESPN has changed….a lot…in the last 5 years. They are now TRULY the “Worldwide leader in sports”…and because of that, like any business, they will look to maintain costs by utilitizing whatever assets they can that are already in place and prevent doubling up. In other words, with the rights already secured to some games in the UK, and with a channel being set up over there, I find it extremely unlikely that they would overwrite those assets (ie – commentators) and set up another announcing team, etc, for a US telecast. That’s a poor business model if they do. And ESPN are not amateurs here. They know what they are doing (ie – they basically waited until Setanta crapped the bed before scooping up all the rights. brilliant !)

  20. I guess for me I dont care if its mainstream or not. The exposure for me isn’t exciting. Part of the love I have of soccer is that its not on ESPN every 4 seconds.

    I’ll take the evil I know (FSC & Setanta) over the evil I don’t. Both FSC and Setanta, show the UK feed which I love. I worry that ESPN either relegates games to channels on other tiers like classic, or uses their own announcers (which would obviously be terrible). If they don’t do either of the things I named, then it may not be a bad thing. The way ESPN works just scares me.

    Dan, Setanta may not be available on your cable provider but is available through Setanta-I so if you wanted it you could get it.

  21. Awesome News! I am also switching my subscription from Setanta to FSC (can’t afford both), given that FSC are going HD soon :-) Hopefully this will pave the way for all games to be shared on between FSC and ESPN for future seasons, and Setanta-US can go the same way as Setanta-UK…

    1. I completely agree about removing that friggin ticker at the bottom!!!
      It’s as if people watching soccer give a flying f*ck about baseball scores and news!!! They can turn to waste their time watching that crap on espnews.

      1. That ticker would be a lot better if it had real-time “score updates” for MLS/EPL/Liga/Bundesliga/Calcio/MexicoFutbol games in progress.

      2. So basically you’re saying people have to be soccer fans and nothing else? It’s a free country. People have the right to follow more than one sport. In fact *most* sports fans in the U.S. follow more than one sport.

        You’re worse than my seamhead friend who hates every other sport except baseball.

        1. People turn to a channel showing soccer to watch the game, not to be interrupted by news from other sports. If the ticker has soccer info, fine. But don’t force down people’s throat all this useless info about other crap. If you are so inclined for that type of news, turn to espnnews or use your mobile device to get the info.

  22. I just hope they can show games they aren’t televising on ESPN 360 like they used to do with the Champions League.

  23. Saturday, October 31:

    Arsenal v Tottenham, 6:45am, ESPN2

    The North London derby should kickoff at 8:45am ET, not 6:45am ET. The U.S. “falls back” on November 1, 7 days after the UK does.

  24. hey guy who runs this blog answer us 3 questions…

    fsc in hd this season?
    espn2 games in hd this season?
    will they just let the sky sports guys do it or have their own in house @ espn?

    1. Matt,

      Fox Soccer Channel will be showing some Premier League games in HD beginning in January, 2010. No idea whether ESPN2 games will be in HD. We’ll find out soon, for sure.

      ESPN will probably use their crew for the Monday 3pm games. As for Saturday 7:45am ET games, nothing has been announced yet.

      The Gaffer

  25. Absolutely DO NOT use those bozos like John Harkes and Alexi Lalas for commentary.

    If they use the Sky feed with Tyler and Gray like ESPN Asia or the international feed like FSC then I’m fine.

    Big news and great stuff to hear.

  26. Please note those Monday night matches are on ESPN UK (well most of them) so they could very easily tap into the UK feed with Jon Champion confirmed as their #1 commentator.

  27. Well to steal a line from a Disney song it’s a whole new world! We all thought this day would come and it’s a bit like a early Christmas for those of who have followed this site from the early days of the Gaffer doing an live chat during the match days. Now to sit back early on Saturday morning, have my coffee, watch a game in HD, maybe let’s hope an quality pre/post show from the ESPN UK crew, and then to be able to watch later in the event you missed something on 360. Heaven!

    The other thing not mentioned above is that if ESPN is putting on the EPL as it’s product expect regular time slots on Sportscenter for highlights of all the games. Who knows a ESPN version of Match of the Day maybe in the works or a weekly roundup show. Think of it all wow!

    I want to thank the Gaffer and the crew here also. What was done by people like Chris and other sites over the last few years lead to this day in American tv sports. Without the efforts of those at EPL Talk, it may have taken more years to see the EPL on American mainstream TV. Chris kept the pot boiling so to speak for English sand other soccer in the US and it is appreciated. Our constant voices have been heard!

    1. Why should they? The majority of these games involve the teams that play U.S. internationals regularly (Aston Villa, Fulham, Hull, Everton). MU hasn’t played an American since Howard.

      1. Yes, because everyone who is American must be a bandwagon fan. I’ve been a soccer fan for a long time. I remember when the only way you could see all the World Cup games was to watch it in Spanish. I remember the last days of the NASL. Don’t call me a bandwagoner.

  28. I don’t care if it is bargain basement teams. It’s soccer, and it might be in HD….I’ll probably tape the Monday games and watch them as a REAL Monday Night Football!! I’m pumped

  29. Oh shut up u bandwagon glory whore man utd fan. Think of them as the yankees of soccer, and that they have their own “yes” network. There are tons of great games here up for display, and there’s probably a great reason that man utd isn’t in a single one of them.

  30. @david

    Chelsea and Man City are closer to the Yankees. In fact, I’d call Chelsea the team of choice for the American soccer fan who really is a gloryhunter but thinks that by supporting Chelsea and not United he won’t be seen as such and perhaps might be more well-received.

    Anyway, PLEEEEEASE show these games in HD. It sucks that United won’t be on (at least between now and Nov.) but I’ll watch them on 360, Setanta, FSC, or even an internet stream if I have to. If ESPN are going to be sharing their package with Sky in the UK then they have to have access to those feeds. I really don’t want to hear Lalas or Harkes to be honest. Maybe JP but neither of the other guys. It only makes sense to use the Sky feed, the presentation and everything is amazing and I definitely recall a Zamora goal that made it onto the SC Top Plays that was in fact in full HD. First time I’d ever seen it but it was all the confirmation I needed of the fact that ESPN definitely have access to HD soccer feeds now.

  31. I can’t that wait for that Burnley v. Sunderland match on 9/19, That should pull a huge number in the States.

    1. Mark Flint: Do you live in Arizona, perchance? I think I may be your cousin (hint: my parents live in Costa Rica).

  32. With even less to offer, one wonders if Setanta-i would consider lowering its monthly fees? As it is, they are almost dead and buried.

  33. HD fans – do not forget that while FSC-HD does not launch until January, Fox will be showing soccer in HD in 11 days on “Fox Sports Net” and other regional sports channels, as their HD broadcasts of UEFA Champions League debuts on August 18th at 2:45pm ET. As I type this, only a few hours to the draw that specifies which teams will play…

  34. Hey Gaffer any chances this games will be on espn or espn deportes? any info will be appreciated since i dont have espn2

  35. I wouldn’t worry too much about Alexi Lalas being commentator as he has clearly shown in the past that he is not a fan of the EPL.

  36. Is there any word if this impacts Setanta Canada? I live in the US but subscribe to Bell ExpressVu so I get Setanta Canada.

    Also, I don’t think these matches will be in HD. I think the only HD matches produced by Sky are the 12:30 PM (US EST) Saturday match and the 11:00 AM (US EST) Sunday match. The Score HD (Canadian channel) shows the Sunday 11:00 AM match in HD.

      1. Man, they have really spotty HD coverage of sporting events in the UK don’t they?

        ESPN will broadcast College lacrosse in HD, as long as they control the feed.

        Oh well, at least they have more bandwidth on my cable system than Fox Soccer Does — the picture on FSC is abysmal.

  37. This is great news! Anyone who doesnt think so is not thinking for the Bargain basement teams?..there’s a North London Derby..and a few Chelski games..and in the 2nd half of the season the 745 am games are usually important games as the title clincher games and many Derbys are always put in that spot…Man United had 3 or 4 early kickoffs down the strech last year, Including the Liverpool game and the Arsenal no1 should complain about this..The trophy presentation game has been the 745 am kickoff probably for the last 10 years as far as i can remember unless it comes down to the final day…just hope we dont get the mls idiots hosting and on the mike..thanks for the good news Gaffer! Happy i asked about this last night

  38. Is Espn listening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please do not put that absolute Moron Tommy Smyth on any game they televise,the guys a soccer imbecile.

  39. ESPN2 will have to move their Saturday Morning Hunting/Fishing shows to different time slots – they already have New Episodes scheduled for 8/15…

  40. No offense to anyone that fishes…do what ya like in life but come on is anyone going to really complain about seeing on a sports network, A LIVE PREMIER LEAGUE GAME,take the place of a New episode of BASSMASTERS? Fishing is not a sport! then again either is poker or half the stuff Espn has on..they’ll end up getting some complaints

      1. Yeah, Fishing and hunting are best *done* rather than watched on TV. I don’t have the patience for either, but it’s nice to get outdoors once in a while. However you choose to do it, do it.

    1. I would much prefer EPL in that time slot. But during the off-season, when there’s no soccer on, those hunting and fishing shows can be lots of fun to watch. And usually some fantastic scenery, too.

  41. Incidentally, thank the Arena Football League for folding and freeing up more rights money for ESPN to plunk down on this.

    I would expect them to use announcers based in the U.S. so they can promo other events on the U.S. ESPN channels. Apologies to those America haters and eurosnobs who want someone else in the booth.

    Bear in mind if you’re not going to show up simply because you don’t like the announcers or give ESPN too much grief, you’ll find yourself back on FSCrap fast. We need them. They *don’t* need us.

  42. I hope this is all true i wont have to shell out 15 bucks a month anymore for setanta and i might get to watch games in HD and if it is a big match that is not on espn or fsc i can just go to the bar.

  43. Thank you Jesus. This is great news. Now I don’t have to pay the extra cost to get FSC on the sports tier. It really was inevitable.

    Wondering what kind of coverage ESPN will be using though. Are they just taking the Setanta feed? Setanta used to just run billboards and animation for half time. What will ESPN do? Hopefully no brainless talk from Alexei Lalas.

  44. Great news….well I think so!
    Please,please,please no more Tommy Smyth or US based commentators who are calling from the very same feed I am looking at.

  45. Raider Rich……don’t both trying to talk some sense into this crowd on the announcer bit. If they hear an American accent they automatically assume the man or woman in Julie Foudy’s case couldn’t possibly know anything about the sport. In reality, it is the worst kind of subtle racism from people who preach diversity and tolerance.

    1. hold on a second there Kartik, I am Irish and I can’t stand Tommy Smith…there is NO SUBTLE RACISM going on here…it is a matter of choice and ANYONE that has either been brought up on watching BBC/ITV/RTE coverage of football matches on a regular basis, or who has experienced listening to UK feeds of live games on FSC/Setanta can CLEARLY see/hear the professional differences in the commentating.
      The majority of US announcers clearly feel the need to fill in ANY dead air spots while the game is going on….a typical example might be…
      “giggs runs down the wing, passes the ball to rooney, who turns, he runs into the box, theres a SHOT, keeper saves!! and liverpook clear it out of the box and down the field into the manchester united half and tommy that was a close call there for the liverpool as the ball runs out of bounds for a throw in to manchester united who are playing their third game in a week as we enter the 5th minute of this english premier league matchday 12 live from Old Trafford Manchester, the home of reigning English premier league champions Manchester United

      Same scenario on a uk based commentating team…
      Giggs…(Pause) Rooney…(pause) Oh I say, good save by Reina, and carragher was there to clear it. United have started brightly here and rooney has been getting in behind Skrtel which must be worrying to the liverpool faithful

      nuff said really

      1. “The majority of US announcers clearly feel the need to fill in ANY dead air spots while the game is going on”

        Shorter Dave G: “I hate Americans”

        1. No, I didn’t say that….I shared an opinion based on experience.
          There is a very marked difference between an american commentator like JP Dellacamera and a UK based one like Jon Champion
          I much prefer someone like Jon Champion commentating on games in the same style as his peers/inspirations…ie Jimmy Hill, John Motson, Brian Moore etc etc…
          The amount of talking during the US covered games is annoying
          Tommy Smith (who is Irish like myself) is annoying
          and the main reason they are annoying is their constant quest to explain every little detail of the game and or its background to what they must assume is an audience that is not familiar with the game….which is flawed, as the vast majority of people in this country that are actually watching a game on ESPN networks are already fans and are much more educated about the game than they give them credit for.

          1. 1) Most American announcers get their start on radio before they’re hired on the TV side. That’s why the dead air gets filled like that.

            2) A lot of the fan population is Latino, and they’re used to Spanish announcers who, oh by the way, also talk constantly throughout the match.

            3) Soccer in the U.S. is not in the same position as it is in Europe. It has to do whatever it can in the presentation end (*not* the rules end, otherwise you’ll end up like the NASL) to attract new fans. If you want to draw in novice fans and not have them shut the TV off, the announcers have to explain it. Every match is someone’s first.

    2. Personally I would prefer that ESPN use the hosts in the UK that will be doing the the pre-games, half time, and post-game shows than whatever crew of talent that ESPN US has here in the States outside of Rae, Healy, Mustoe, and Georgie Bingham who are quality. I don’t care for Hislop, JP, Janus, Alexi, Foudey, Alan Hopkins, Rob Stone, or Tommy who I think are all pretty much rubbish at what they do.

      The people I want covering the Premiership on TV I want living and embedded in the UK and Europe where they truely have the pulse of what is going on in the Premier League and European Futbol in general with the additons of the Bundesliga and La Liga. I hope that ESPN will employ beat reporters/insiders for the Prem, German and Spanish League like they have in all the other sports they cover here in the States. i just don’t think the current talent pool at ESPN has it to produce an interesting pre-game/half time,/post=game show that would be as good as the crew that ESPN UK has hired so far. As someone pointed out it would be pretty crummy to watch an NFL or College Football game living in the UK if the announcers were Brits because of the feeling that the presenter doesn’t have the same frame of reference and history that an American would have calling the same game would have.

      The on air talent that do NFL for Fox, CBS, and ESPN work from 12pm to 7:30pm in the case of Fox and CBS and from 11am to even later at night for the ESPN Talent. The ESPN College Football talent works from 10am to 1112am in the case of Herbie who will do the pre-game and then fly off to wherever the primetime game is to call it as the color guy. What would stop ESPN from using the talent that is based in the UK for their US and International Audience depending on what kind of pre-game show they are going to do here in the States and for the rest of the International Audeince. I am curous what kind of pre-game show ESPN 2 will roll out if they do one at all for the games that start at 7:30am. I would love a 90 minute pre-game show but if I were a gambling man it will be a 30 minute pre-game show.

  46. Sorry Kartik, Julie Foudy is not my cup of tea or even coffee. I like JP Dellacamara (sp?) but for every JP, there is a Balboa. That said i want to blow my brains out if i ever here Ray Hudson commentate over on Gol.
    Derek Rae and Adrian Healy are ESPN’s best. There is an American over at Gol (name escapes me) who I like.

  47. Hudson is an acquired taste, Simon. Tough for many to take- probably I am just biased on him because I have been watching him play since I was 5 years old and then listening to him in the community since he retired.

    Derek Rae is doing SPL, correct for ESPN UK? Who will do the La Liga games here since he and Tommy used to do those for the Asian and Latin American audiences?

  48. This is a dream come true.

    I’ve always wanted them to have more soccer on and less inane stuff like say, poker. And I don’t care if poker is on TV, I just don’t think it’s a sport and should be on a sports network.

    Now, ESPN has gotten a clue and is actually going to show more sports with the EPL, La Liga and Bundesliga. Yay!

  49. It’s great news that ESPN will be broadcasting more soccer…it’s about time! However, i will not be able to stomach coverage if Tommy Smyth, John Harkes, or Alexi Lalas come within a mile of a broadcast microphone. I will coninue to watch matches in Spanish (and I don’t understand a word of Spanish) in order to avoid listening to those guys.

    ESPN is doing a great thing…I hope they don’t spoil it with poor announcers.

      1. By that logic, it should follow that if you want English football, move to the UK. (*gasp* Sorry, I meant soccer!) Yet here you are, on EPL Talk. Better start packin’ your bags, Rich.

        1. I think it’s worked forweg, usually he’d answer you back with some petty insult or generalization by now. I guess the “eurosnobs” have won this round.

  50. I listening to espn deportes radio and they just made an announcement about this and they said the games will be on espn2 and espn deportes. Great news for me since i dont have espn2. Anyways i though i shared the news with you guys.

  51. To me, as a Newcastle fan, this is HUGE news, mostly because this seems to ensure that Setanta will stay afloat this year at least. ESPN360 showing so many Newcastle games is a very welcome surprise as well. SO happy right now.

  52. Can’t wait for EPL, La Liga, & Bundesliga on ESPN2 HD. Soccer in standard def on my 46″ flat-screen TV looks awful. Right now with FSC and Setanta I have to close the drapes, then set my Samsung TV to ‘energy saving mode’ and ‘movie’ settings in order to dim the screen, which seems to improve the picture quality and make the matches watchable. And if ESPN gives us the HD feed, then we’ll get the matches in widescreen. EPL in widescreen would be a dream come true.

    1. If they can’t do HD, then SD in 16:9 is the next best. At least that way, we can zoom in and the picture will provide wider angles to see the play developing/off the ball movements of others.

  53. Have to think this will be the end for Setanta, as I had been hoping Comcast would add them in my area but now with the EPL games that ESPN & FSC will show Setanta seems very pricey for what they will show. I expect next season FSC & ESPN will share the rights.

  54. I believe these games on ESPN2 will be in HD…I dont see why they wouldnt. The only game i have seen that wasnt in HD since i had an HD tv was the USA vs Costa Rica game. since then its all be in HD and with ESPN having the rights in the UK they will have them in HD here in the USA. I dont see why they wouldnt. They even had the Champions Leauge in HD if im not mistaken. But anyhow this is great news…I see that ESPN 2 will conflict with some games on FSC ahhaha and I hate when it does this because It makes me have to pick and choose which game to watch hahaha..but i will deal with it. I really hope these gets REAL good ratings so we can see more Football coverage on ESPN and ESPN2

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t know that it’s a definite that these games will be on in HD. The only champions league match which ESPN chose to show in HD was the final.

  55. This is great news.

    Only (non) problem now is that I’ll have to juggle yet another station in deciding what to record / watch.

    Anyone know of a good web site that gives soccer coverage listings in the US (using ESPN, ESPN2, FSC, Setanti-i, etc as options)?

    If not, that would be something someone should do (put in what channels / online options you have and it brings up the next week / month of games in your selected competitions). It’s a pain in the ass looking at all the various sources listings individually.

    Though I have to admit that it’s nice to be able to complain about such things rather than what we used to complain about (lack of games).

    1. Gaz,

      There are a few sites that provide TV listings of games in the US. I know of:
      1) – very comprehensive but site is a little “busy” for my liking
      2) – seems to focus primarily on the big 3 European Leagues

  56. This is amazing news. i downloaded a couple HD feed EPL games last year via usenet groups and i have to say that it truly is amazing. the idea that you see so much more of the field is really great to watch the build-up. And the picture is so clear that you can see the crown faces (i feel like i said this 5 years ago when getting my first HDTV and box)

    I hope they beat out FSC for most of the rights and show all the games in HD.

    it will be great to see Arsenal beat Tottenham in HD.

  57. TXGUN, Hold on a min hahahah FSC is going into HD in January so it wont be so bad. Id rather have the EPL on both channels to be honest with you.

  58. Chris,

    FSC “says” they will be in HD by January. I don’t trust them at all. i watch some UStream feeds that are crispier than there channel is.

  59. This is NOT good news for Setanta.. just from these replys, alot of people will cancelling their subscrition now they have additional games on ESPN2. Unless Setanta does something to reignite interest in their channel, this could the beginning of their demise. I hope they show more Championship matches and maybe some LIVE Scottish Premiership matches to keep the ex-pats subscribing.. but I think the average US viewer who is interested in the Premiership may end up canceling. Personally I liked things the way they were.. we shall see…….

    1. I agree. However I wont be jumping ship because I love watching every game and ESPN is only taking 2 a week, Setanta still carries the FA Cup, International games, Champions League games, and Championship games, and other great stuff like AFL,Hurling, and Gelic Football.

  60. Kartik will you swallow your damn pride and admit American announcers for soccer are useless and talk for hours?

    This isn’t about Eurosnobbery or any of that crap. There are bad British commentators (See: Peter Drury) but for the most part their worst commentator is probably better than America’s best.

    They let the game breathe. Not suffocate it with useless garbage talk.

      1. Listen…

        Would you rather have Dave O’Brien and Marcelo Balboa commentating on Arsenal vs. Tottenham only because they’re “American” or Martin Tyler and Andy Gray focusing on the game?

        The same way the UK doesn’t use British commentators for the Super Bowl we shouldn’t be using American commentators for the PL.

        1. Nice straw man argument. Not every American announcer is Marcelo Balboa. Just goes to show how much you hate Americans.

          1. Don’t put words into my mouth. How the hell can you even THINK that makes ANY sense?

            Marcelo Balboa is unique. I’m not even sure he’s human.

            Straw man argument? Listen to Alexi Lalas make insane statements like “Kasey Keller is the best goalkeeper in the world” and you tell me that MOST American announcers, ESPECIALLY those ESPN clowns, are incapable.

          2. Any adult who puts a mascot in front of their name and goes by that handle is a loser. I’ll just lump you in with “Buckeye Bob” and
            “Sooner Sam”.

          3. Well, excuse me, Mark, I didn’t know it was against the law to have an opinion in the United States of America contrary to that of the eurosnobs.

        2. I never want to hear Andy Gray call a game not involving British teams again. He couldn’t be bothered while doing the Euros last year to learn about the players on Germany who BTW, made the final!

    1. Is this broadcast being produced for Americans or Europeans? Most of our football fans in this nation are either Latino or American suburbanites. They are not latte sipping, big city euro wannabes. The broadcasts are put together for these people not for the euro wannabe class. Latinos view futbol as a deadly serious game which also requires colorful and flamboyant commentary. Americans simply, and perhaps I will concede due to some ignorance about the game and tactics (But England is no great shakes with tactics- give me an Italian or German mind any day over an Brit on this score) Americans need more explanations and hyperbole, but again these games are not being produced for viewing in Sheffield or Nottingham. They are being watched in Fargo, Santa Ana and Montgomery. Big difference.

      1. How much longer are we willing to dumb down the commentary? Isn’t this exactly what ESPN got criticized for in 2006?

        If they can duplicate their Euro 2008 coverage I’m fine.

        Andy Gray is just an example BTW. Davie Provan, Gary O’Reilly, and Robbie Earle are all quite good analysts.

        Janusz Michalik and Shaka Hislop shouldn’t be allowed on a TV screen..neither should the dull Robbie Mustoe.

        1. Yes, because if they don’t sound like from the UK, the commentary must automatically be “dumbed down.”

          “you tell me that MOST American announcers, ESPECIALLY those ESPN clowns, are incapable.”

          I will agree with no statement born out of prejudice.

          1. Furthermore, if you think ESPN is going to bend to your every whim just because you want your coverage a certain way, you are being incredibly naive. Unless you’re talking about the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NCAA, access to a wide audience on ESPN is a privilege, not a right, and the reality is that soccer is still a niche sport here. You get their coverage, or they drop you because the ratings are too low.

            Hockey fans used to bitch all the time about how bad ESPN’s coverage was, then ESPN dropped them. Now hockey is irrelevant unless Sidney Crosby is playing. Unfortunately, ESPN has that kind of power in the modern sports landscape.

          2. I dont think I am a eurosnob and I hate listening to American commentators because they just keep frickin blathering on and on and on….in most sports the color commentator contributes maybe 30 percent to the dialogue and the play by play guy the rest…Well during the confed cup it was the opposite..I had to listen to what Landon Donovan had for breakfast and what kind of toiletpaper he uses while the play by play took a back seat….the euro annoucers seem to do a great job commentating with the eb and flo of the game while the american announcers just keep talking no matter whats happening on the pitch.

          3. As Kartik said above, “Most of our football fans in this nation are either Latino or American suburbanites. They are not latte sipping, big city euro wannabes.”

          4. It’s a function of how announcers are trained here. Almost all play by play guys get their start on radio before they graduate to TV.

          1. Maybe the real problem is that there just aren’t enough American announcers, period…

            For baseball/basketball/American football, there are so many games broadcast in this country, and have been for so long (particularly for radio), that there is a fairly sizable pool in those sports of good announcers for the “big” jobs (the networks, ESPN, etc.) from which to draw. That’s not really true for soccer in the U.S.

          2. And we won’t have a large pool so long as SSReporters, MarkB, Kautzie and other eurosnobs are demanding international feeds and UK announcers.

          3. Yay my avatar works.

            It’s too small to work out but it’s the string of TFC fans (2500) that made the trip to Columbus in a match against the C**w.

            BTW should the Brits hire Brit announcers to do coverage of the Super Bowl?

            Think about that.

          4. Actually, you can hit the red button on Sky and get some British commentary of the SB, or stick with the US network commentary.

  61. SSReporters: it’s hard to watch an MLS game, along with most of the Confederation Cup games because of the announcers. Most of the FSC and ESPN announcers besides Adrian healy and Derrick Ray are absolutely awful. i wonder if ESPN would be able to grab a couple from the UK or just use the feeds from England.

  62. ESPN picked up the Monday rights in the UK as well, so I’d imagine that those will definitely use their UK commentary (Jon Champion) for those broadcasts.

  63. Gaffer-

    Is this a net positive for Setanta? I don’t see adding ESPN to the mix as a bad thing but I would like to see Setanta stay alive. I really like having access to all of the EPL games and they are the only game in town for Ligue 1.

    As far as commentating, I don’t get all this worry over who calls the game. I’ve watched games in spanish, dutch, and french because that’s what was available and I still enjoyed the game (I only speak english). JP Dellecamara is not bad and the guys on GOL TV not named Roy Hudson are also pretty good.

    1. Jleau, allowing ESPN to step in and take the two matches away from them will definitely help Setanta in that they won’t have to fork out the $3-4million for those timeslots this season.

      As far as commentators go, they’re like women. Every man has a different taste in birds. Some like them blonde. Some like brunettes, but we all have different opinions about which ones we like and don’t.

      The Gaffer

      1. Well said Chris. Unless the commentators just misses the action and key calls, it’s a matter of personal taste. ESPN did do a good job with Euro 2008, so let’s give them a chance to select there own talent. Expect some time for them to get used to things. Let’s not jump over mistakes right away.

  64. I just hope the don’t ruin it with the stupid scroll at the bottom, and yes the american announcers suck. Just use the live commentary, they know what they are talking about.

  65. This also gives people a chance to see more of teams other than Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal. I seen some Portsmouth, Burnley, new promoted Birmingham City, Wolves…Tottenham so this will give people to be fans of other teams other than the big four

    1. Maybe its better if you don’t see B’ham and Wolves. They suck and play really non-attractive football like Bolton, except they are even worse. I’d rather see Norwich go up since they do play attractive passing footy.

  66. too bad i still can’t watch man city vs. man utd. get rid of setanta. I hope ESPN provide HD coverage of the games they’re showing.

  67. Roberto, The Guy that runs this blog i think said they will come out with a press release in a couple of days. ESPN really dosent annouce much until its close to the showing.

  68. This better be true, or I’m gonna be pissed at you for getting my hopes up. Who cares about the announcers, I’ll finally be able to watch good soccer on my TV instead of streaming it on my computer.

  69. Is this still a go??

    Have a look at the ESPN schedules. It still says that ESPN2 will be showing huntin’ and fishin’ programs at 7:45am on Saturday 8/15….
    There aren’t any EPL games listed on Saturday morning at all.

  70. Gaffer – I’ve been telling people about this big news for several days now, and I’m starting to get nervous that a google search on ESPN2 and “Premier League” still only brings back soccer blogs linked to this article. …and now you mention above that ESPN still has to sign the contract?? Yikes. Me of lessening faith.

    1. You people need to relax.

      FOX Sports Int’l (FSI) is on the hook for an extra $4.75 million now that Setanta has given back to FSI 2 EPL time slots.

      The only way FSI can get anything close to $4.75 million is to do business with ESPN, Inc.

      Contracts take time to be written up and be reviewed by lawyers on both sides.

      This deal will be done sooner or later because FSI has no choice.

  71. Here is my estimate(*) of what the ESPN coverage will be assuming the above mentioned sat first picks for 10am if no 745am

    EST. Date Time (E.S.T) Home Away
    08/15- Sat 7:45 am Chelsea Hull City
    * 08/22- Sat 10:00 am Wigan Manchester United
    08/24- Mon 3:00 pm Liverpool Aston Villa
    08/29- Sat 7:45 am Chelsea Burnley
    * 09/12- Sat 10:00 am Manchester City Arsenal
    09/19- Sat 7:45 am Burnley Sunderland
    09/26- Sat 7:45 am Portsmouth Everton
    09/28- Mon 3:00 pm Manchester City West Ham United
    * 10/03 -Sat 10:00 am Everton Stoke City
    10/05- Mon 3:00 pm Aston Villa Manchester City
    10/17- Sat 7:45 am Aston Villa Chelsea
    10/19- Mon 3:00 pm Fulham Hull City
    10/24- Sat 7:45 am Wolverhampton Aston Villa
    10/31- Sat 7:45 am Arsenal Tottenham
    * 11/07- Sat 10:00 am Manchester City Burnley
    11/09- Mon 3:00 pm Liverpool Birmingham City
    11/21- Sat 7:45 am Liverpool Manchester City
    * 11/28- Sat 10:00 am Portsmouth Manchester United
    * 12/05- Sat 10:00 am Manchester City Chelsea
    * 12/12- Sat 10:00 am Liverpool Arsenal
    * 12/19- Sat 10:00 am Fulham Manchester United
    * 12/26- Sat 10:00 am Liverpool Wolverhampton
    * 12/28- Mon 8:00 am Tottenham West Ham United
    * 01/09- Sat 10:00 am Arsenal Everton
    * 01/16- Sat 10:00 am Manchester United Burnley
    * 1/30- Sat 10:00 am Arsenal Manchester United
    2/06- Sat 7:00 am Birmingham City Wolverhampton
    * 2/20- Sat 10:00 am Everton Manchester United
    * 2/27- Sat 10:00 am Chelsea Manchester City

    EST. Date Time (E.S.T) Home Away
    * 03/06- Sat 10:00 am Wolverhampton Manchester United
    * 03/13- Sat 10:00 am Manchester United Fulham
    * 03/20- Sat 10:00 am Manchester United Liverpool
    * 03/27- Sat 10:00 am Chelsea Aston Villa
    * 04/03- Sat 10:00 am Manchester United Chelsea
    * 04/10- Sat 10:00 am Tottenham Arsenal
    * 04/17- Sat 10:00 am Manchester City Manchester United
    * 04/24- Sat 10:00 am Manchester United Tottenham
    * 05/01 -Sat 10:00 am Liverpool Chelsea

  72. Gaffer,

    Is this a bit of a preview of where we are likely to end up for the next few years? I’ve been wondering ever since the demise of Setanta UK if this would be what the next contract looks like.

    All three (ESPN, FSC, Setanta US) need some EPL to anchor their coverage and form a base audience. None of the 3 can really afford to carry it all be it lack of money (Setanta) or lack of schedule space (ESPN, FSC).

    I see this as a pretty big win for us in the US as we get to keep access to all games and ESPN should push everyone to do a better job. The down side is having to pay an extra fee for Setanta. I have paid this now for a few years and aside from some minor glitches felt the service was worth the fee.


    1. Jleau,

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your analysis. Premier League TV rights fees are very exorbitant. And it’s difficult for one carrier to have the money to pay for the whole lot. So it’s better to have everyone chip in and spread the wealth (and the number of games).

      The Gaffer

  73. No need to worry, this is happening… My DVR records all first fun EPL Matches on Setanta, and the Chelsea-Hull match was scheduled, but is no longer scheduled on Setanta… ESPN2 should have it scheduled soon… There are bound to be some outdoorsmen that will be pissed after their fishing/hunting shows disappear!

    1. I know I’m happy about this news, but my dad’s going to be pissed! Good thing they just got digital cable with OLN.

  74. Still waiting on something official from ESPN and the television listings to believe it, but this is a very good thing if it pans out. Thank you jeebus.

    1. I checked my listings this morning, and according to my DVR…ESPN has SportsCenter scheduled all Staturday morning (as usual) with various fishing and hunting shows on ESPN2.

      :( Hoping something changes, as I would like to catch Chelsea/Hull.

  75. Hopefully our announcers won’t be shouting “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLL” like that a**clown during the Euro. Keep the feed, ESPN…

  76. how on earth is this true? espn is not the type of company to announce something and give it only 5 days to market before they start showing games….hello the first game is SATURDAY according to your schedule. this is bollocks.

    1. It would only be “5 days to market” before the first game of a full season of games. It’s not like they’re buying the rights to a one weekend tournament. The marketing machine will catch up.

      I’m convinced it will happen – the matches disappearing from Setanta’s schedule proves it for me. It’s possible that the legal niceties may take the process beyond the first weekend of games, but this still is a major feather in the Gaffer’s cap – nice scoop, Chris. Any way of telling how much traffic you’ve had on this particular story?

  77. We’re expecting ESPN to put their signature on the contract and issue a formal press release in the next few days. Watch this space.

    So ESPN hasn’t acquired the rights, yet? Signing the contract would be indicative of an acquisition and no contract would be indicative of no acquisition. Not a subtle difference.

      1. Not if they don’t want a verbal agreement to be binding. Moreover, most deals of this nature would not be considered final and binding until it had been reduced to writing.

  78. Gaffer

    Whats the deal with Setanta -i? Aren’t they supposed to show additional games, i.e.when two or three games games are being played at the same time, show a different one to what is on tv?

    On Wednesday the 19th, Setanta are showing Burnley Man Utd, and Setanta Extra is showing Tottenham Hull. FSC seems to be showing a CL qualifier. Basically, why isn’t Setanta-i showing the Liverpool Stoke game as an alternative to the Utd Burnley match? FSC are showing the Liverpool Stoke game on Thursday evening. Does this mean that if FSC has the rights to game it can’t be broadcast on Setanta and vice-versa? It seems ridiculous to a) pay for Setanta-I when they are showing the exact same games that are on tv anyway, and b) FSC to have the rights to the liverpool game then not show it until Thursday evening. Does FSC have an equivalent of Setanta-I? I can’t find it anywhere. Sorry for all the questions but tis bloomin confusing.


  79. Sorry – a quick update..

    It seems Setanta Canada are showing the Liverpool Stoke game, at least on the same day. With so many outlets available in the US to show live games, Setanta, Setanta Extra, Setanta Premium, Setanta-I FSC, FSC online, EPSN2, ESPN360 (possibly 8 different channels?) all showing live premier league soccer, it’s crazy that on a day when only four games are being played only two of them are being broadcast live.

  80. I’ve been looking at the schedules I don’t See any EPL soccer on the Espn Schedule Website plus doesn’t mention any games being broadcast on ESPN, this is the only site that mentions it , normally EPL talk is reliable but can anybody confirm this?

  81. Setanta’s website has tv listings and DOES NOT show them carrying a 745am eastern game on this or next saturday– I think that is our best sign this is real.

    1. Matt, I only delete comments if they include foul language. Feel free to post your comment again and it should appear as long as there’s no obscene language or racial threats.

      The Gaffer

  82. Thanks for the info Gaffer, even if people are impatient.

    All the signs point to it being true. I just hope ESPN promotes the games like they had been the US’ Confed games.

  83. It’s not as much about impatience, it’s just that from experience (like with all the friendlies shown this summer), the website and tv listings are updated quickly on ESPN

    This would be big news yet I hear nothing about it from the various football outlets I look through regularly.

    You’re the only place I’ve seen it from. If this gets announced in the next few days then props to you. I hope that’s the case…

  84. if this WERE true, you’d think ESPN would be advertising it by now…93 hours away from the start of the ‘o9/’1o season and nothing.

  85. I still see nothing…:(

    I was anxious to see some Hi Def EPL action, especially since its Jozy’s first match against my second fave English Club

    1. Nick, HD for some Premier League games won’t be available on Fox until January. As for ESPN, it has yet to be announced whether they’ll be showing Premier League games in HD (not all games in England are shot in HD).

      The Gaffer

      1. but every match shown on Sky or ESPN UK will be shot and shown in HD over there…and the slots we’d be getting would both be for games already shown in HD in the UK…(Saturday early is Sky, Monday is ESPN UK)

  86. a friend just called ESPN and they told him that this isn’t true
    here’s what went down…

    Just got off of the phone with Brian R. Scheduling at ESPN and “….ESPN only holds the rights to English Premier League/EPL games in the UK only. As of today we are not scheduled to show any EPL matches here domestically..”

    I did ask him why…he mentioned contract issues

    Looks like we’re streaming it everywhere in the US!!!

    1. Thanks Mike. Nothing new, though. We know that ESPN won’t admit to having the rights to the EPL games. The key words from them are “As of today.” Once the contracts have been signed, sealed and delivered, we’ll hear the official news from ESPN.

      The Gaffer

  87. Gaffer,

    no offense at all, love what you do here, but you have to understand people’s skepticism at this point. I know I am becoming more doubtful every day.
    Even if a verbal agreement has been reached and it were simply a matter of crossing the i’s and dotting the t’s, ESPN could say that and begin promoting. It’s 5 days away now.

    I still believe a deal could be reached, but I doubt in time for Saturday’s game. I think we won’t be seeing Chelsea-Hull anywhere on TV.

    1. Hi Steve,

      No worries. I completely understand the skepticism. But in the corporate world, anything can happen until the contracts are signed. Therefore companies won’t say anything until everything is signed and agreed by the lawyers.

      So, ESPN will continue to argue that it doesn’t own the EPL TV rights “as of today” until the contract is signed and the press release is published.

      The Gaffer

  88. Any possibility ESPN is waiting until right before the USA/Mexico fixture tomorrow? I know they don’t have the rights to the game, but they’re airing a live pre-game show, so perhaps this will be when they launch the marketing campaign? Otherwise, this Blues fan will have to stay offline until Tuesday morning to catch Setanta’s first airing of the Chelsea/Hull fixture. Which totally ruins my weekend!

    1. bluefanmd, if Setanta doesn’t have the rights to show the match live at 745 Sat, why would they have the rights to rebroadcast it on tues? Is that a Chelsea TV situation?

  89. I’ve been coming to this site since 2005. It’s been a great source of information over the years. I want to believe this and it makes sense but we are four days away from the start of the season. Could it be that the deal fell through? Gaffer, at what point will you no longer stand by this story? Kickoff on Saturday?

    1. I checked with my inside source yesterday to confirm that the ESPN deal was still happening, and was given another thumbs up. The deal is obviously taking longer than we anticipated, but we should hear something soon. If anything changes, I’ll be the first to put up my hand to admit I was wrong, but all indications I’ve received are that this is still going to happen.

      The Gaffer

  90. If this somehow does fall through that means we wont get the 745 am game all year? that would be horrible so many big games happen then esp in the 2nd half of the year

    1. If it doesn’t go through, that just means that FSC had failed to sub-contract those games. FSC would then (obviously) retain the rights for themselves, and you can bet they wouldn’t let them rot – they’d show the matches on FSC.

  91. My last post was removed…thanks MikeOk for putting back up-

    in reference to a letter sent to Setanta-US today stating that it was Bad Business not to show the Early matches 745/445 for us in CA

    This in from Setanta-US West Coast Rep of Scheduling
    ..”ESPN has the rights for that match, so it is out of our hands and is certainly not a a business decison as you imply..” K.R

    I personally hope for it to be formally announced during US/Mexico match…but like others above- clock is soooo ticking on this whole deal.

    C’mmmmmmmmon Chelseaaaaaaa

    1. Wrayman, I’m glad someone else other than EPL Talk is confirming that ESPN has the rights to the early Saturday match in the United States (as well as the Monday match). Not sure if ESPN will announce it during the Mexico v US match, but it’s entirely possible.

      BTW, I didn’t remove your last comment. You posted it under a different thread at

      The Gaffer

  92. Gotta have it! Ain’t nothin’ like walking up at 4:30 a.m. for real football…best part of the year…if this deal is done, Setanta will be toast after this contract runs out…Iwon’t be surprised….get ready, lads, Saturday will be here soon..go Gunners!!

  93. Don’t worry gaffer, there are plenty of blues supporters on it. Another response from Setanta to TexasJeff.

    The broadcasting rights to the season opener, Chelsea vs Hull, and this season’s 7:45am Saturday games, now belong to ESPN. We will still be offering extensive Premier League coverage this year, with our coverage beginning at 10am on Saturday.



    Setanta Sports”

    My email and text message (weird you can text ESPN) to ESPN have yet to be answered…but we’re always hopeful

  94. Gaffer, WRAYMAN, bluemikeok great recon work! I firmly believe this deal will be announced today during the pregame festivities on the four letter. Good work Chelsea in America (C.I.A.). Oh boy, Lucky Baldwin’s Pasadena 4:45 AM I’m ready!!!

  95. Perhaps ESPN isn’t purposely advertising this just yet to see what initial draw they will get from people who already follow the EPL closely…These sort of initial ratings will show the network powers that be how much EPL is wanted by people over here in the States. Then they can market to the masses, see if the ratings grow or not and eventually figure out how much of a push they are going to make for all of the US tv rights when they are up for grabs.

    Still keeping my fingers crossed Gaffer!!!

  96. Maybe the delay is ESPN trying to catch Gaffer’s “deep throat”. Be wary of publishing exact contents of any memo he/she received, Gaff – old counter-espionage trick – they will have given slightly different versions of the memo to all their main suspects.

  97. Well, that announcement would make sense if ESPN had the rights to the US v. Mexico game… which they don’t.

    Thought you said this was a done deal. Are you also reporting that the apocalypse is coming and the sun will go nova… eventually?

    1. Telemundo has the game, but ESPN is doing a live pre-game show (the 1st time in their history for a match they weren’t going to broadcast). The speculation about a possible announcement was that it might come during the pregame show.

        1. From the ESPN press release…

          “The special marks the first time in its 30-year history that ESPN will air a live pre-match show for a soccer event it is not televising.”

          …maybe the Gold Cup show wasn’t live?

  98. I would say the only option to see Chelsea v Hull this weekend is the first airing on Setanta, 10:00PM on Sunday (8/16). I do not think ESPN holds the rights. I think FOX Soccer Channel just doesn’t want to show any games at 7:30AM because they are airing infomercials at that time. I really hope I will have egg on my face and eat a plate of steaming crow, but I don’t see this happening right now!

  99. So, no Chelsea-Hull city this Saturday? This will be the first season opener of the Premier League that I won’t be able to see in at least 4 years…ouch…big ouch…hope pleasant surprise is in store, but losing faith already…

  100. It seems weird they wouldn’t show Chelsea-Hull anywhere. Even if ESPN and Sentanta no longer hold the rights FSC does. They would just let a valuable game sit on the shelf. That seems strange. But possible I guess.

    1. Because FSC has already received money from those companies that pay for airtime during their morning infomercials. This is really shitty! Now my whole weekend is screwed. I can’t watch any football until Sunday night because I don’t want to know the score of the Chelsea fixture. I will be up all Sunday night watching all the football I have to DVR. Well at least I will get to mow the lawn, paint the living room and spend some time with my family instead of in my man-cave!

  101. FSI can always put Chelsea vs Hull on FSC on short notice. Alternatively, the match can be made available live via pay-per-view on

    I suspect the “deadline” for getting the deal done in time for Saturday will be Thursday at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. There is still time left…

  102. This sucks. I check the ESPN TV schedule about 5 times everyday and it looks like nothing has changed. I hope this information is true.

  103. Thank you, bluefanmd, for pointing out that Setanta are showing Chelsea/Hull at 10pm Eastern on Sunday. Up to 48 hours ago the first showing was down for Tuesday next. So, although it means avoiding all soccer news on Sat and most of Sun, at least we can see it before the weekend is over.

  104. The telecast of the Chelsea v Hull match is from Chelsea TV totally different than the traditional Premier League telecast.

    1. But it is still a telecast! Plus for Blues fans, we can handle hearing pro CFC commentary! Still disappointed that FSC, Setanta and ESPN have dropped the ball on the very first EPL fixture of the season!

  105. ESPN finally brings the EPL to the USA!! IF they broadcast in HD then we’ll have it all….Really won’t change my viewing habits. My Saturdays are consumed with College Football and the EPL already. But with ESPN showing EPL I’ll just rely on the DVR to pick-up everything I need to watch.

    Does this mean I need to cancel my early morning trips to the pub to watch games and drink beer at 7am?

  106. bluefanmd: Although Setanta have changed the entry of Chelsea/Hull to 10pm Eastern on Sunday, my DirecTV guide still shows Man U/B’ham in this time slot. Setanta show it as the 1st air of Chelsea TV’s game only three hours after they are allowed to show it for the first time at midnight on UK Chelsea TV. Let’s hope this is a portent of things to come, i.e. always showing the Chelsea TV feed on Sunday rather than having to wait till Tuesday.

  107. I think we have little faith as it’s so close to the opening weekend and things are up in the air. The fact is Setanta USA has surely sold the rights to those 2 games and I’m pretty sure ESPN is just playing hardball.

  108. has plenty of links so you can stream games on pc. Generally poor quality, but hey at least you get to see something. Also the commentary is always proper.

  109. FFS! back off the slaggings of The Gaffer…All signs point towards ESPN showing EPL, and he has started a great debate about the whole thing, which has got me even more excited about the season….if ESPN are showing a match on saturday at 7:45 am I will be in heaven, if its in HD, I might not be able to sleep friday night!! but if they don’t then its not the end of the world, I will find a way to watch the game online, or the highlights somewhere BEFORE the end of the weekend…which is a HELL of a lot better than it used to be over here in the States folks.
    EPL-Talk is a great place to come for a good read on football, I don’t always agree with some of the articles, but its been a great source for me on a daily basis on top of the UK tabloids/Skysports/BBCSports….so lets cut the gaffer a bit of slack there folks
    Also, I will be watching MOTD on Saturday live online at 5pm est :) CLASS!
    Gaffer, If you don’t already have this capability, send me an e-mail and I will hook you up mate

  110. Maybe if his original post hadn’t been so definitive (ESPN has acquired), there might be less “slagging.” A week ago, Gaffer said in a comment “you can trust us,” yet now has a qualifier at the top saying the deal has not been done.

    This is why reporters qualify their news with “sources say” and the like. EPL Talk is a great site, but I think this is showing why bloggers need to not get too full of themselves. Sometimes, they get played and statements like “Here are what games we know for certain that will be shown on ESPN2” don’t look so good.

    Things could change between now and Saturday, but that’s why you qualify things instead of writing that it’s a done deal when we now know that’s not the case.

    1. Brian, at the time of writing this post, the information I received from the inside source was that it was a done deal. I found out later that the legal teams were still ironing out issues, which is why I posted an update.

      I’m still confident the deal will be done. But sometimes things are outside my control.

      The Gaffer

      1. Brian, one more thing. ESPN Deportes Radio last week reported that ESPN had gained the rights to the EPL for US TV. Based on the information that both I and ESPN Deportes Radio received, it was a safe bet that the deal had been done.

        The Gaffer

        1. “Sources say” is your best friend until you see the actual announcement. Just friendly newsroom advice. People tell reporters and bloggers all the time without it being rock solid.

    1. John, I’d like you to take back that statement. Name one incidence when EPL Talk posted a lie. There isn’t one. We pride ourselves on reporting the facts. For you to suggest otherwise is outrageous.

      The Gaffer

      1. John,

        Why visit this site if you think there are lies? Everyone wants this to happen and are equally frustrated. As a Blue’s fan I am very frustrated as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are all on television in the states this weekend and not Chelsea. After the successful World Football Challenge and all the fans Chelsea picked up I am very disappointed they won’t get to watch the first game either!

  111. This is still a major story, and I for one am even more interested in it because it’s still being hammered out somewhere – may yet hang in the balance. Most of the time, we’re fed stuff like this via dull press releases. Here we’re actually getting a sense of what it must be like to deal with ESPN. epltalk’s original report has been backed up by the actions of setanta: removing the games from their own schedules, and (at least reportedly) replying to inquiries with statements like “ESPN now has the rights to those games”.

    You can have a go at epltalk for not putting more notes of caution in the original story, fair enough, but the fact that a formal announcement had not yet been made – the very thing that made this story a scoop – by definition puts an element of doubt into the outcome.

  112. I’m just excited about the possibility. The actions of FSC and Setanta seem to indicate that negotiations are taking place. For FSC, it makes no sense financially to buy the rights back from Setanta and then not televise the matches. I’m sure with ESPN losing the Champions League and their general negotiating practice, every last detail must be hammered out. Let’s just hope we are set to go by Saturday morning.

    1. It seems more likely given what happened to Setanta in the UK, that Setanta US couldn’t afford to pay FSC for those games this season.

  113. One more thing about the whole affair regarding the EPL TV rights for these timeslots. If EPL Talk hadn’t reported the news last week, almost all of us would be completely in the dark regarding what was happening with the two games in question this weekend.

    I’d rather have all of the dirty laundry in the public than have soccer fans nationwide wondering what was going on and being left out in the cold.

    I can’t even remember the last time the opening game of the Premier League was not televised in the United States, so I hope the deal gets done as soon as possible.

    The Gaffer

  114. If FSC still has the rights as of 7:45 on Saturday, wouldn’t they show the Chelsea-Hull game? There’s no point in not showing it, all they have on Saturday morning is infomercials. I noticed it showed on my directv schedule on Setanta up until last week sometime and now it’s completely missing. Don’t deprive us of watching Jozy’s debut!

  115. FSC never had the 745am saturday match. It was always Setanta. But yeah I can’t imagine that this game won’t be on live. May be a real down the wire deal. I won’t be TOO heartbroken though. That’s what the review show every Sunday night is for :) If it doesn’t get done for this week, I’d expect it to be done for next Saturday.

    1. Setanta bought the rights from Fox each year. This year, they are not buying the rights for the 7:45am match.
      Fox have said that they won’t show matches at 7:45am, because their studio is in Los Angeles, where it is 4:45am, and their people would have to get up at 2 or 3 am and then do an entire day of Saturday soccer. It doesn’t work.
      If it is not shown live on ESPN2, then it might be shown in place of a repeat airing of a different match.

  116. yiddoinakron,

    My understanding from this article is FSC holds the rights and has sold them to Setanta in the past. Now Setanta doesn’t want the games so FSC is trying to sell them to ESPN.

    1. Because Setanta Sports North America couldn’t afford the U.S. video rights to the Saturday 1245 UK time slot anymore.

      If FSI can’t hammer out a deal with ESPN, Inc. in time, then FSC can always air Chelsea-Hull on short notice.

      Alternatively, the match can be made available exclusively on as a “marketing event”.

      FSC should have a contingency plan ready…

  117. On the weekends where Setanta is showing a 7:45am game, it’s because there is more than one game at the time, allowing them access to a game at that time slot.

  118. If you sign up for Setanta broadband can you watch replays of matches if you can’t watch them live or is there a way to record live matches?

    1. Jeff, yes you can both watch the replays of the matches as well as go through the schedule to select which games you want to have recorded. You then have a “My Channel” feature that saves all of your recorded games for later viewing.

      The Gaffer

      1. Thank you for your response. i emailed Setanta the same question two days ago and still haven’t heard from them. You responded immediately. Awesome.

        Anyway, I want to get this because I want to watch all the Manchester United games that are playing on Sunday mornings. I noticed on Setanta’s site that they do not show every game that they show on TV. Will they show the Manchester United games? I don’t understand why there would be less coverage. Isn’t the monthly price for online the same as the TV subscription?

  119. I really hope they don’t back down now. I am really looking forward to catching some early Saturday matches and my provider doesn’t offer FSC or Setanta, so unless I pay lots of $$ online, ESPN is the only way it will happen for me.

  120. I know I’m a little late to the discussion, but EPL Talk provides the most reliable information related to soccer on TV in the US period. The best proof of that is the number of other sites that link here for this type of information.

    Gaffer – please keep up the fine work. Without EPL talk it would be virtually impossible to be a Setanta customer.

  121. Soo… less than 36 hours until the Premier League kicks off, are us in America going to be able to watch Chelsea vs. Hull on ESPN or not? There are plenty of games that day, but I really would like to see this one, especially in cracking HD.

  122. I really do hope this deal goes through, and I agree Gaffer, if you hadn’t said anything we’d all be in the dark.

    However I really think it’s strange that the two parties can’t come to a deal, especially with such a short time span between now and the 1st game. If it’s not shown, everyone loses money and nobody benefits.

  123. With so little time to go before the Chelsea/Hull game, perhaps now is the time to discuss other means of watching it. I know there will be many streams via MyP2P, but I really can’t abide the poor quality and Chinese commentaries. Can anyone suggest a possible stream with the best quality?

    As it’s at such an abysmally early hour for those on the West Coast, is there any reasonably easy way to set up a recording of such a stream?

  124. So this makes no sense ..Setanta already paid Fsc for the rights right? so espn would then pay Setanta? so if no1 is going to broadcast the early game wouldnt some1 lose money? what is going on with thi? it’s almost friday!!!

    1. It makes perfect sense. We all know Sentanta has cash issues. They are probably due to pay up for this year’s licenses. However, they are now short and cannot pay. FSC has the licenses and is looking for someone else to pay. ESPN would be a logical fit. I could see it happening soon, if not by Saturday. I would love to see the game at 7:45, but for me, the season doesn’t start until 12:30 eastern on FSC.

  125. Until 3 years ago Fsc showed the 745 am kickoff every week until Setanta came along so people getting up early to broadcast all day makes no sense they use to do it!

  126. While it is clear that Setanta gave back some of the matches they had the rights to, if their listing is accurate (as oppposed to just being out of date), they did not relinquish those timeslots in their entirety…they have seemed to keep some of the bigger matchups in the early Sat slot, for example.

    Perhaps, the sublicense to ESPN is in negotiation, but ESPN may be unhappy with the matchups that they are left with (in addition to wanting to pay less for the matches).

  127. Interesting, we are a day away and still no announcement or indication on what network will show the Hull/Chelsea game. I have faith that ESPN is indeed close to signing this deal, but I hope the games they get will be worthwhile if they do.

  128. I believe FSC looks at ESPN as a direct competitor (which they should), which is probably making negotiations very difficult. Let’s remember that these two firms are now the two heavywieghts holding the PL rights in the UK (Newscorp/Sky and Disney/ESPN). Perhaps FSC is soliciting another network (Comcast?) to pick up the package on one of their networks (VS) so they don’t have to sell to the competition. Just a thought.

    Either way, let’s get this deal done so we are ready for tommorow morning. PL fans in the states go through hoops each year to make sure we get the maximum possible coverage of the PL (Let’s not forget the ITVN fiasco). I’d hope we catch a break one of the these years and maybe even get to watch footie in HD.

  129. Also if you click ” Follow all the updates here” you get:

    Premier League LIVE – Week One
    Upcoming Event
    Title: Premier League LIVE – Week One
    Date: Saturday August 15, 2009
    Time: 2:30PM WET


    1. Skpd, the “event” they’re talking about is a live blog using the CoverItLive tool that EPL Talk has used in the past. It’s not the game live on TV unfortunately.

      The Gaffer

  130. WET refers to western european time, so I am pretty sure they’re speaking to their european audience there, not U.S.


  131. Looking at the guide on my cable TV today, neither ESPN nor ESPN2 list any soccer games at 7:45 tomorrow morning, and FSC also has no listings for the game. If you go to ESPN’s own website, they are playing sportscenter at the time that the game would be on. Everything I’ve read besides this report has stated that only ESPN in the UK will be showing any premier league games this year. I hope that they do show them in the USA, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

  132. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. After religiously checking ESPN’s schedule for the past 2 weeks, it still shows fishing in the early hours, and yet their website has an article that is SUPPOSED to include “which games will be shown on ESPN” yet the article says nothing about it. Guess I’m gonna have to go with Sky online.

    1. Sorry Dave, I just gave false hope…Sky TV online says “anyone” can watch it, however, it’s only if you’re “anyone” in the UK or ROI. Guess we’ll have to with the illegal means.

  133. 3 minutes into the ESPN “experience” and they have already surpassed FSC… get HD, you get the British intro and feed….none of this Mickey Mouse (no pun intended) crap the other channel starts with.

    Cheers to ESPN !!!!

  134. For a Brit ex-pat such as i and long time Man U supporter (since 1955) this is
    wonderful news. Just hope the commentary is from the live feed and not
    studio garbage.

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