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ESPN wins EPLfootball rights

The English Premier League has awarded the two packages of live TV football rights for the 2009-10 season formerly held by Setanta Sports to US-based broadcaster ESPN.

The deal means that the sports broadcaster will deliver 46 matches in the coming season. ESPN will also broadcast one package of 23 matches for each of the subsequent three seasons.

ESPN has already reached agreement to broadcast its coverage on pay-TV operator BSkyB’s platform. Sky had previously been in the running for one of the two packages for the coming season.

Financial details were not disclosed, although local reports suggest that ESPN paid about £130million for the next season’s games and £159million for the single package for the next three years. The deal follows the near collapse for former rights holder Setanta, which lost its hold on the games after failing to meet financial commitments.