Fox in Negotiations to Sublicense EPL TV Rights in U.S. to ESPN

According to sources, ESPN and Fox Sports International are currently in negotiations for FSI to sublicense some of the Barclays Premier League TV rights in the U.S. through 2013 to ESPN.

However, a deal has not yet been signed. And soccer fans in the United States will have to wait until an agreement is reached before they know which games will be televised on which TV networks.

Soccer fans in the United States are used to waiting. While there are still 25 days to go until the 2010-11 Premier League season begins, many soccer fans will remember the last minute deal that was made by Fox and ESPN the night before the 2009-10 season kicked off so that ESPN2 could show the season opener between Chelsea and Hull City.

According to sources, it is understood that ESPN is looking for expanded rights in the U.S. that will allow the company to feature the matches on more platforms than in its previous 2009-2010 season agreement. That agreement only allowed ESPN to televise the matches on ESPN2. For the 2010-13 seasons, it’s likely that the games will also be available on in addition to ESPN2.

The sources added that the time slot ESPN and FSI are negotiating is the early Saturday morning kick-off (and 10am, when there are no 7:45am matches). Some midweek matches may also be included.

The season opener for the 2010-11 Premier League season is Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester City on Saturday, August 14th at 7:45am. While a deal between ESPN and Fox has not yet been finalized, here is the tentative Premier League TV schedule for viewers in the United States.

33 thoughts on “Fox in Negotiations to Sublicense EPL TV Rights in U.S. to ESPN”

  1. As long as they don’t plan on showing any games exclusively on, I am all for ESPN acquiring more games. I don’t have FSC in HD, so the ESPN2 games in HD seemed like such a treat last year. Once you’ve experienced the EPL in HD, going back to SD is almost depressing…seeing the crisp 7:45 game and then the blurry 10 am game made me appreciate ESPN2’s picture even more.

    1. Yeah, the Saturday 10 a.m. game was shot in the widescreen SD — apparently the same “cutting-edge” technology so beloved to Formula 1. You have to look at it a time or two to realize its not in HD, but it clearly isn’t.

      1. You will never get you 10 am (3pm GMT) games in HD. Those games are not shown live in the UK. I is only the early and late games that are shown live in the UK and therefore those will be the ones you get in HD.

        1. See I don’t get that. Even if the game is not shown live in the UK why wouldn’t they shoot it in HD. Would people not want to watch the replay in HD. So because the game is not live the game is not worth HD. That is absurd.

          1. We only get the highlights of the games shown at 3pm GMT and therefore maybe they feel SD is good enough. I’m am not up to speed on the costs of recording the games in HD compared to recording them in SD but there must be some difference as they only seem to record the games in HD if they are being shown live in the UK.
            I suppose that sucks for you guys but hey, we don’t get to watch them live on TV full stop so think yourselves lucky.

    1. Yeah, I’m a little confused too. I thought we’d already heard about this happening (and/or I thought this was already the deal from last season).

      I confess to not being up on all the details of this stuff, so I could probably use a little clarity in terms of what’s new here, etc.

    2. Yeah, I’m a little confused too. I thought we’d already heard about this happening (and/or I thought this was already the deal from last season).

      I confess to not being up on all the details of this stuff, so I could probably use a little clarity in terms of what’s new here, etc.

      1. I don’t get it. I refreshed a gazillion times, and the original posting of my comment had never shown up. So I post it again and… boom, there are two of them.

        1. TOGID, we’re using cache on the site so it’s able to withstand the amount of traffic we’re receiving. As a result, comments sometimes take a few minutes to appear.

          The Gaffer

    3. My source indicated earlier this year that ESPN would be having a lot more Premier League games on TV, but the deal must have changed or someone got cold feet.

      The Gaffer

  2. Interesting – is this just ESPN looking to show its current games on the web as well on TV or is this going to involve ESPN picking up more games too?
    I’d assume that is ESPN got another game or 2 per week (say the 8.30am Sunday game and a second best 10am game) that there would be no reasons for FSC plus to exist to Premiership fans. I am this close to getting rid of FSC plus because online supplements have been enough as of late to get by.

    1. Simon, looks more probable that ESPN won’t pick up any additional games. But the games they do pick up, they’ll have the broadband rights to, also.

      The Gaffer

  3. After enjoying the entire WC in HD and now going back to the SD of FSC more games on ESPN is a welcome surprise. BTW do we know what the hold-up is with FSC HD for DirecTV? I have a funny feeling this may be more Fox Sports doing than DirecTV….We get GolTV in HD soon and DirecTV did an excellent job of showing UEFA matches in HD last year, so I can’t imagine they would delay the launch of FSC HD…it would be interesting to know more details about who’s responsible for the delay. My money is on Fox Sports.

  4. Does anyone know why is only offering day passes??

    Are they not going to offer season passes this year?

      1. Sooner, is doing upgrades right now, so only offering day passes is just temporary. They will likely put up their monthly and season passes towards the beginning of the EPL season.

    1. I checked with FoxSoccer and they said it’s only a temporary solution while they’re doing some summer cleaning. Season passes will return soon.

      The Gaffer

      1. I just checked 5 minutes ago and still no season or monthly passes! This is frustrating as online mediums are my only option, I don’t wanna have to pay 5 buck per day all season, gets expensive! Hope they sort it out this week (B4 Sat).

  5. Is there any chance this could lead to a longer delay for FSC to go HD with directv, comcast and others? It looks to me that they’re pulling the equalivant of a salary dump. Oh well, ESPN can get all the games for all I care, the more games they get, the better the chances I see of ESPN starting an all soccer channel themselves and forcing Fox out of the market….that would be extemely welcome and I’m sure it’d be in HD carrier wide at launch(crazy concept!)

  6. alredy have the premier league in the schedule, and looks like ESPNdeportes will have some premier league games also.

  7. This is awful news. The only difference between this season and last season is that the 7:45amET game will be on ESPN3 as well as ESPN2.

  8. I read somewhere (probably speculation) that the Directv FSC HD delay was to do with packages. Fox want FSC (HD) bumped to one of the Choice packages and FC+ (HD) bounced to the sports package. Personally I think I would prefer a DTV Soccer package (an expansion of the Champions league deal – I can’t see it being free foever).

  9. I have asked repeatedly about a soccer package with Directv. The person who answers the phones knows nothing about it. I always ask them to forward that request to the people who make those decisions, but I have no idea whether or not they do.

    I would pay the $15 fee for a soccer package that I currently pay for the sports package. I don’t need 25 Fox Sports Net channels that don’t show anything I want to watch.

    1. August 1st is the launch date for Goltv HD.. I would expect FSC HD to be launched about the same time..*as directv is famous for… i think the big question is what is going on with FSC+???? seems to have been added to most sports tiers in all other systems it has been added to… but directv subscribers are (me included) paying $15 month for sky sports reruns… and the odd rugby match… again we come to the start of the season.. and still all is unclear as to who will have what…


  10. Fox in Latin America announced that it has granted the broadcasting rights to five games per week of the EPL to ESPN, this is only for Latin America.

  11. Only 1 week until EPL season and still no EPL listings on ESPN2 or Looks like it will be another last minute deal this year.

    But I noticed that Fox has added French Ligue 1 to its offerings. FSC will show Paris Saint-Germain v AS Saint-Etienne (featuring U.S. international Carlos Bocanegra) live today at 3:00ET, and FS+ will show it later today. Tomorrow FS+ will show a live Ligue 1 match at 3:00ET. Both matches will be available on on Sunday.

    This must have been a recent deal. My Dish Network listings don’t show today’s live match on FSC so I had to set a manual timer to record it.

  12. Max Bretos has pretty much confirmed on Twitter that ESPN will be showing games again this season. He said that he’ll be anchoring the studio coverage and will be on Saturday morning and Monday afternoon. Sounds like ESPN will be showing the same games as last season (early game on Saturday & Monday games).

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